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Antlers - Beneath. Below. Behold

Beneath. Below. Behold
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 March 2018, 6:47 AM

Hailing from Germany, Atmospheric Black Metal band ANTLERS presents their sophomore effort, titled “Beneath. Below. Behold.” From their Facebook page, they describe their music as “ancient rhythms for the age of decay.” The album contains nine tracks, released through Totenmusik Record Label.

“Theom” is a massive eleven-minute track. There is a long, ambient lead-in and the sound of water tricking in the background. Suspense hangs in the air. When the instruments hit, they hit hard. The production is muted to give it that fuzzy organic sound. The vocals don’t have a huge presence, and are more guttural in nature. Lead guitar elements give some atmosphere among the hardened tone of the rhythm. Some of the chord progressions are really fascinating and connect in an almost Classica way. “Heal” is considerably shorter, but still with that thick wall of sound. The vocals are anguished lamentations; enough to wake the dead from their graves. The entirely of the chaos could in fact be a great soundtrack to a zombie apocalypse.

The transitional Classical Guitar piece “Nengures” is a nice change of pace to what came before. It has a pretty little melancholic sound that produces a longing for the listener. “Beyond the Golden Light” is another succinct song on the album that pushes a sad and depressing melody line beyond your body and mind, and straight into your soul. Sometimes something so simple can speak volumes. “Metempsychosis” is a nine minute song. From Wikipedia, the meaning of the song title is “the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body of the same or a different species.” Kind of like reincarnation but a little different. Once again the guitars provide much of the sound, forever strumming along. For the first time, we hear clean vocals as well. M’s drum work is really on fire in this track, with some very well-timed fills.

“Drowned in a Wall” is a short little piano song, high with despair. There is something so beautiful about this instrument as a medium in metal music. It can convey pure high-born majesty at one end, and down to the simplest and tender beauty or utter pain at the other end. “Off with their Tongues” is three minutes of regal sounding chord progressions and controlled madness. If this were playing on your way to the gallows, you would be sure to meet your end. Then comes the ten-minute “The Tide,” which opens with a mid-tempo lumber. There are similarities in the Doomy sound to a band like INSOMNIUM for me…that sophisticated style of riffing goes so well with the rage fueled vocals. They saying often goes, “anger is more useful than despair.” But this is not often true when it comes to music. Despair can be delightful.

“Lug’s Waters” is a three and a half minute closing song. Guitars and piano dance together in the last promenade, as the skies are lit with fire, at the eve of the end of the world. ANTLERS were very successful here with “Beneath. Below. Behold.” in keeping the traditional elements of the genre that fans have come to love, but with their own modern flair. The album comes alive in so many ways that your discovery of new sounds increases with each new listen. Some critics have said that Black Metal is the antithesis of thoughtful songwriting. But, this album will surely prove them wrong. It is deep, rich and with complex layers, yet remains something very easy to enjoy.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Theom
2. Heal
3. Nengures
4. Beyond the Golden Light
5. Metempsychosis
6. Drowned in a Wall
7. Off with their Tongues
8. The Tide
9. Lug’s Waters
Pablo C. Ursusson – Guitar, Classical Guitar, Zanfona
Ntx – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
M – Drums, Percussion
Mts – Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Totenmusik


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