The first thing one sees when opening the inner sleeve of Antaeus’ “Blood libels”, is the phrase “We Hope You Die”, which I think is, like, totally gay: if we die, you fucktards, then who’s gonna buy your records, huh? Or, are you so “troo”, “kvlt” or any other of those retarded labels, so as not to care about selling records and you just make them to bring down christianity an’ all this shit?
The whole thing’s really stupid and that’s a damn shame, ‘cause Antaeus seems to be another cool band from the Norma Evangelium Diavoli roster that has been spurting out quality black metal during the last years. It’s really idiotic to undermine yourself with such idiotic proclamations, when you should be leaving your music to do the real talking. And Antaeus seem to have the chops here.
On “Blood libels”, the first thing I noticed is the production: raw, yes, and ugly, but also quite professional and powerful, giving the band a big sound and making the songs leap outta the speakers and threatening with violence and death anyone who happens to be around. So, armed with good production values, Antaeus come out of the gates really strong, with the kind of blasphemous black metal that, while being very close to the genre’s roots, still tries a few things of its own and adds a little flavour to the mix.
What I really dig is the “machine-gun” blasting the drummer uses throughout the whole of the record: it’s much more accented than the usual “mixer-in-heat” blasting one finds in most black metal records and gives the songs more character and – should I utter the unutterable? – “space” for the other instruments to shine through. The guitars are tremolo-picked to hell, the bass is nowhere to be found, the vocals are of the raspy-screechy variation and the songs are generally speedy and hate-filled. The record is unrelenting, but that’s OK, because, hey, we’re talking about black metal here, not ambient, right?
The flavour-stuff I talked about come in the form of doom-noise codas, mostly at the beginning of songs (e.g. “Gates to the outside”), or as interesting little breakdowns or ill-bent bridges within the songs (check out “Control and abuse”), but, generally speaking, the band never really strays from the original antichristian, hateful, misanthropic path template of the genre. Which, actually, is OK by me, so long as one does it with power and conviction.
Antaeus seem to manage this, so, even if no-one’s going to consider them as trailblazers of the genre – like, e.g., Deathspell Omega -, they are able to pull off a really powerful and – yes, mates – entertaining record. For anyone interested in black metal, that uses the past as a stepping stone towards a more modern approach, “Blood libels” is one choice that shouldn’t be missed.
8 necroblasphemous incantations out of 10.