Antaeus

Blood Libels

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French black metallers Antaeus have their third full-length, recorded for Norma Evangelium Diaboli and licensed in the States. When the listener opens the sleeve of the digipack, they are greeted simply with the band's logo and its motto -- "We Hope You Die," -- as a starting point. They live up to their "Anti God. Anti Music. Anti You" motto right from the jump. Nice. Musically speaking, Blood Libels is aggressive black metal with a pinch (or ten) of death metal thrown in. As the lineup of these happy boys changes from record to record, they are at least in keeping with what they perceive as their mission. While black metal is changing, shifting structures and production values, Antaeus simply stick with the formula for the most part. There are elements of thrash and, as previously mentioned, some black and death, but for the most part, this is simply Cookie Monster horror music for the black- and iron spike-clad masses. That said, there are pluses here, like a killer guitar sound that is not thin or brittle but full and screaming. There are a few blastbeats, and the writing seems to focus on creating catchy riffs to coincide with the attack: pure ferocity with few dynamics. There are some interesting sound effects layered in, but they underscore the aggression rather than give it another dimension. The sound serves as a segue rather than compositional motif. "Control and Abuse" is like a page from the early Killing Joke fakebook, while pummeling the living shit out of the single repetitive riff at 160 mph. Emperor could have recorded "Colliding in Ashes," if they were trying to record something by Negative Approach. The nine-and-a-half-minute title track which closes the album is so intense it's literally almost unbearable. Antaeus are veterans of the French metal scene and further leave their blood marks with this slab.

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