2000, Baphomet Records
If nothing else, this album has a great title - it just cuts through all the bullshit, doesn't it?
But no, we have something superlative here, something that needs to be heard: music that has been waiting in the wings for some time now (this band has been around a long time) and which has launched itself on to the world stage full of conviction. This album has a remarkable presence, and it's not caused by Antaeus's stunning originality or anything of that sort - rather the opposite, I think, because this band will never take away an award for innovation. If I could sum up what they offer in one phrase, I would say: a glorious return to the past. And so you who are familiar with this magazine and my entrenched prejudices when it comes to black metal will see right away why I adore this release.
Antaeus is easily one of the rawest, most vitriolic, and violent black metal bands on the planet (there is something of a tradition in France of this, see Vlad Tepes, et al.), and this factor, their powerful passion for aural violence, is spread throughout the eight tracks included here: both on the songs proper and in the short industrial intros and caustic asides. Listening to this is like being caught in a whirlwind of razor blades. If I could offer you any advice on experiencing this record, I would say: turn it up, the distorted production really brings out the holocaust nature of this material. Guitars screech, rip, tear, and gouge your flesh, the drums pound maniacally at hyperspeeds, full of chaotic instinct, the bass is like a heart attack victim's pulse, battering at the bass drums, and the vocals are excellent: MkM's (he of Spikekult infamy) spits out the blasphemy like a man insane, cursing the heavens in rage.
And while there aren't really any other bands that this release directly reminds me of (and no, it doesn't sound at all like Mayhem, at least not to these critical ears - well maybe the earliest Mayhem songs), I don't think anyone would ever be interested in saying that Antaeus were pushing the envelope of what black metal offers in the new millenium - least of all Antaeus. No, they know what they want to hear, they know the old spirit that they want to recapture and offer here, and that's what they go after. This is traditional, grinding, flaying, pure black metal the likes of which I have not heard in a very long time: maybe not since the first Immortal records, to tell you the truth. All I can say is that I miss this kind of music desperately, and I wholeheartedly wish there were more bands out there like this one. In any case, we have Antaeus for now, and that will have to do. This slice of bestial violence is highly recommended.