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Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan (2000)
 

My first exposure to Antaeus was through a friend that recorded some tracks from the Supremacist Dawn demo for me. Compared to some of the other bands on that tape, these did not stand out very much. It was basic raw and generic Black Metal with much less going for it than their peers in the LLN. Thus, I neglected to follow the band as they went on to release three full-length albums. Eventually, this French band's name kept popping up when talking to others about music and, since they shared very similar taste, it seemed that maybe I should check these guys out again. What a total mistake. Released in July 2000, Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan is an atrocity.

The main thing that doesn't seem to make sense is why so many in the Black Metal scene are so keen on this. The only logical guess is that the aesthetics are appealing in some manner, as well as the album title. However, as far as the actual music goes, this is another lame example of modern 'extreme Metal' in that it does not remain true to one style or another. For as much as they wish to cultivate a following in the Black Metal underground, they managed to forget the important matter of actually playing that style of music. This has more in common with Death Metal in the vein of Krisiun than anything related to the likes of Bathory or Darkthrone.What you will hear on this album is a haphazard collection of meaningless Death Metal riffs, with the occasional Black Metal part added in, along with incredibly overactive and technical drumming that dominates much of the material. There is even frequent use of deeper vocals. This is 'blackened Death Metal', at best, and just because they use shoddy production and a lot of raspy vocals does not make this real Black Metal. Regardless of how one chooses to define this, there is no denying that the songwriting is very poor and shows absolutely no talent, whatsoever. There is not one memorable or meaningful riff to be found on the entire album. In fact, the guitars almost seem like background noise for the drums and vocals, rather than the other way around. If they were going for a Blasphemy-type approach, they really failed.

The main thing that allows this to masquerade under the guise of Black Metal is the lousy production. In essence, what you have here is lo-fi Death Metal, possessing more treble and lacking the low-end of their brethren. Nevertheless, trying to disguise one thing as another, no matter how much you dress it up, still does not make it so. The overall sound is rather abrasive, especially with the percussion being so high in the mix and dominating the music. The guitar tone is rather thin and harsh on the ears, not suiting the type of material that is being played, at all. Despite sounding like hell, it still carries the feeling of being incredibly modern. It definitely sounds like a product of its time.

It is understandable that newer fans of Black Metal would be fooled by Antaeus. With the general aesthetics of the band, along with the raspy vocals and thin guitar tone and the word 'Satan' in the title, it is easy to see how someone that didn't know any better could mistake this for pure Black Metal. While there are hints of it, here and there, Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan is modern blackened Death and poorly executed at that. No amount of supposed Satanic beliefs will change this fact. If you want real French Black Metal, stick with Mütiilation.
 
(1 Oct. 2012)

 
 

Antaeus is a French band that seems to have managed quite a following in the Black Metal underground despite the fact that their music is clearly more in tune with so-called 'brutal' Death Metal. It is rather odd that so few appear to recognize this for what it is. Their second album, De Principii Evangelikum, was released in September 2002 and displays that the band learned absolutely nothing from the mistakes of their debut record and were perfectly content to continue down the same path of mediocrity. This album makes absolutely no improvements and also ignores the fact that other bands had already done this style of music much better ten to fifteen years earlier. All Antaeus manages to do is to play their music less skillfully and with less character than their predecessors.

Musically, there is not much to say about this abomination. For whatever odd reason, Antaeus continues the worship of all things percussive, on De Principii Evangelikum. Not only does the drumming drive the album forward much more than any of the riffs, but the drums are awkwardly high in the mix, as well. This shift toward a more percussive style is one of the things that killed off Death Metal, a couple decades ago. For a band that is so desperate to be embraced by the Black Metal scene, one would think that they would have realized that the guitar riffs are supposed to come first and to be the dominant aspect of any real Metal album. Even bands like Blasphemy, that had a lot of chaotic drumming going on, still had decent riffs. Antaeus lacks this quality. Though it seems they tried to get kind of a rough sound with this, it still comes off as entirely too modern and fake. The samples don't help matters, nor does the use of effects on the vocals. The songs are incredibly short, possibly to cover up the absence of creativity or song development. It also does not help that this album often lives up to the stereotype of every track sounding the same. It's just under half an hour of blasting drums, meaningless riffs in the background and generic vocals on top of it all.

The production, as mentioned before, tries to get an underground feeling with modern technology, it would appear. It does sound pretty horrible, just not in the right way. The guitars do not stand out, at all. This may be a good thing since the riffs are just filler so that the drummer can pound away in a militant fashion and the vocalist can try his best to sound evil while in actuality he comes off as generic and uninspired, just like the music. The drumming is far too high in the mix, while most of the rest kind of blends together in a muddy pool of filth. There are certainly albums out there that sound worse, but at least many of those exhibit some kind of depth to their material.

If you want something that is roughly in the vein of what Antaeus is trying to pull off, you are better off sticking with albums from Blasphemy, Beherit, Bestial Warlust and so on. At least those bands managed to sound dark and / or evil. The songwriting here is terribly weak, the execution is lackluster and the overall effect is one of boredom. De Principii Evangelikum is an album that is bereft of any positive qualities. Just to repeat, this is not Black Metal and should not be associated with Black Metal for any reason. Even getting past that for a moment and judging this as the monotonous Death Metal that it is, it still comes up short. It fails to create any sort of atmosphere, other than one of sleepiness. Avoid this album and forget that you even heard of this band.
 
(11 Dec. 2012)
















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