Monday, October 1, 2012

Antaeus - 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.