Release DetailsLABEL Norma Evangelium Diaboli
RELEASED ON 6/9/2006
posted on 5/2007 By:
Obviously this review is a bit late getting out the door, partly because of when it was sent in and partly because of my own failure, but whatever you think, don’t think that this album is one of those leftovers we had to review since we have an almost completely open door policy here. French black metal leviathan’s Antaeus have easily released one of the most important black metal releases of last year in the form of Blood Libels.
Stylistically speaking, Blood Libels isn’t all that different from Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan or De Principii Evangelikum. It’s perhaps not quite as frantically unrelenting as their previous work, but Antaeus are starting to show an impressive maturity in aspects of contrast and continuity that previously had just been ignored in favor of an all out aural assault. We’re not talking about an all out difference here, just a notable change to understanding when to go all out and when to use an entire song as a building point. “Controle and Abuse” with its insidiously melodic overtones and overall ominous portension before launching into the virulent and wickedly direct “Colliding in Ashes” is the perfect example of their progress. And while everyone enjoys a good blast fest here and there, the genius of Antaeus is that they at the very least have the capacity to interject some subtlety and emotion into songs like “Rot” and “Gates to the Outside”.
The drumming is that sort of rapid fire machine gun blasting that I’ve come more accustomed to hearing from Swedish bands like Heresi or Funeral Mist, but coupled with the French emphasis on mood and atmosphere Antaeus has a particularly vicious and evil composition with a peculiar gloom that's all their own. The real thing to keep in mind with Antaeus, and especially this style of black metal, is that while they may not be the greatest virtuosos you’ve ever heard, the attenuation of mood is absolutely flawless. “Words as Weapons”, “Here is Punishment”, and “Blood Libels” all act as damn impressive moments flesh tearing guitar lines and pernicious vocals enveloping the listener in a fog of aural torture and despair by creating interesting juxtapositions between atmosphere and the no quarter attitude of songs like “Cyklik Torture”. When it comes down to it though, there are very few other bands that have such good taste as musicians to not let their music become repetitive or annoyingly overdone.
I feel I’ve made my point here without too much fanfare of my usual concluding paragraphs. If you like black metal period, you owe yourself to look into this band. Blood Libels is a magnificent album with true depth.
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