posted on 2/2009 By:
The idea of extinguishing Cosmic Order in favor of returning to the natural "flow" of Chaos often sounds positively delightful to my ears, and it obviously makes a fine companion to the storming world of heavy metal as well. Shamaatae, the sole member of Sweden's Arckanum, is a practicing Nordic Chaos-Gnostic Satanist, which, if I'm not mistaken (and to break it down into the simplest of terms), essentially means he's greatly looking forward to the snuffing out of the blight of the Cosmic gods with Ragnarokian magnitude: Giants, massive serpents and great wolves battling with End Days rage; mankind panicking as the sun blots to black and volcanic eruptions send flames to the Heavens; and the sea finally enveloping the Earth, dousing our race and mistakes to make way for a new age of Chaos.
So, does the music fit the motif? Well, the menu's pure, savory black metal, but it's more straightforward and not as epic in scope as what I'd imagine the actual "Twilight of the Gods" to be. Antikosmos is mostly devoid of much of the bells and whistles that seem prominent in so much of today's black metal: no fiddles, tin whistles, dulcimers, clean sung vocals, or even a single acoustic note, just stripped down meat 'n' potatoes black metal that's heavy on the riff and rhythm. Essentially, it's what I'd hoped Khold would produce now-a-days, but grittier and with a bit more variety to further sweeten the deal. Most of the tunes push in and around the posted speed limit, with "Nakjeptir" and "Formala" slowing a bit and toning down the tremelo picking in favor of a chunkier, death metallish approach. Not surprisingly, the tunes with a little extra folded into the recipe stick out as my favorites: opener "Svarti" with its distorted intro and wonderfully gloomy guitar-lick ending, the weird electronic blips & glitch interlude of "Blota Loka", and the one-two punch of the short-n-doomy instrumental "Eksortna" that leads into "Su Vitran", a great little number that spends its last 3-minutes wallowed in atmospheric feedback and the sounds of cawing carrion crows.
Despite having an overall raw and nearly thrashy delivery, Antikosmos boasts a surprisingly clear production that does a fine job of spotlighting the multi-instrumental talent of Shamaatae, so those with an inclination towards the "clearer" sounding side of the genre's fence may want to make note of this release. The mix also layers in Shamaatae's fitting barked rasp very nicely as well -- never burying it too far below or peeling your face off with it at any point during the album's seemingly scant 37-minutes.
Solid stuff, and definitely recommended for fans of bands such as Craft or the aforementioned Khold (or their harbinger, Tulus). While I'd call Antikosmos a fairly straightforward affair, it's delivered with a precise and balanced attention to detail that will guarantee this record more visits from me in the future. Well, until the Earth's finally swallowed into the sea, that is...
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