Antaeus – Condemnation (2016)

Article contributed to Death Metal Underground by Max Bloodworth.

Prior releases from Antaeus displayed an alien weltschmerz like an outsider looking into the world and finding nothing of value. It had an air of royalty as well as an air of embarrassment in its simplicity. Intuitive destruction of an end-in-itself, the music delivered a perspicacious view of the bleakness embodied in the microcosm and macrocosm, with the nature of man clinging onto its pitiful existence. Ultimately the value of such an inquiry is in the unraveling of itself to the threshold of exhaustion, then being untoward to the world-as-it-is as its conclusion. Such bold statements of violence to humanity and to the self led to its unique logogenesis which thrusted them above most of their peers as a more realized and apt style of music like Von. Antaeus had the face of an outsider in a sea of complacent faces.

One can conclude that Antaeus have exhausted themselves by releasing an album of which they forced themselves into instead of it naturally birthing from their imaginations. It appears as if it was created for a status quo without the inertia to breach back into the beyond. No such endeavors are worthwhile to musicians and their music. Now they masquerade as established performers but they used to be the furthest from by being foredoomed to their inner violence as if it was a shaped charge. It’s a great insult to have all of the surface characteristics of their prior works without the exclamation points to the futile world-as-it-is. All that remains is a meandering mass fluttering in its own indirection. They’ve created a mess of an album which makes me conclude that this band doesn’t care to make music anymore.

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37 thoughts on “Antaeus – Condemnation (2016)”

  1. Rainer Weikusat says:

    I was planning to buy this later this month. Something more descriptive than »It wasn’t what I had wanted it to be« had been nice.

  2. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

    Try this on for size then:
    The drums dominate the whole album — same beat throughout, pulsating and dull like a stroboscope from behind closed eyes.

    Then it sounds like Inquisition’s first big album.

    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      The drums dominate the whole album — same beat throughout

      I’ve now listened (arguably without paying a lot of attention) to tracks 1 – 5 and 9. The drumming prominent but not dominant, rather the guitar (people might have different opinions about that). But it’s not »the same beat throughout«. There are at least four different blastbeat patterns and also passages without blasting.

      1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

        I knew you wouldn’t be able to let that sentence pass, dear Rainier.
        Wouldn’t be able to repress the urge to listen to the whole album just to prove a nigga wrong.
        You’ve always been a stickler.

        I vote for your new name ‘Prominent but not Dominant’… unless I can have it!

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          As I told everyone I was planning to do this earlier, you won’t win a prize for this kind of clairvoyance.

    2. Anthony says:

      this nigga complaining about repetitive drums in black metal lol

      1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

        My nigga… if you’re referring to ME, then you’ve got it twisted.
        I didn’t complain. Maybe you took ‘dull’ as an emotional expression, but no, the snare is sonically dull/muffled/buried, not a sharp explosive CRACK.

      2. 8==D says:

        eh? is A Blaze in the Northern Sky a repetitive blastbeat-fest? the fact it’s black metal is no excuse.

        1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

          I’m tripping the fuck out right now because — this is honest truth — I just put on “Ablaze in the Northern Sky” and then went to DMU and returned to this comment thread. That is a crazy coincidence, but I shit you not! I’ve listened to Darkthrone’s next 2 LPs, but not this one much, so I’ve been curious. I’m at 3:30 right now, and this is a slow-almost-groovy beat!

          In any rate, I never insulted constant blastbeats, guys! I was just observing. FUCK.

          1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

            Track 2 “‘N the Shadows of the Horns” reminds me of Celtic Frost “2 Mega Therion”.

            Meaty like an 1/3-erect dongbeast.

  3. Bruce Dick In Son says:

    wow so boring.

  4. El Duende says:

    Blood libels was already crappy and generic.

  5. Cookie-cutter war music. Yes, bland, boring, and vapid. It has none of the engaging spirit that BM had moving forward (not progressive. I won’t be upset if I don’t hear it again.

    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      It has none of the engaging spirit that BM had moving forward

      As represented by?

      1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

        He probably meant the Burzum, Mayhem, Emperor, Immortal, Darkthrone, and Anciient.

        1. All this music has a something about it.

        2. Rainer Weikusat says:

          I can also try to guess this. I was asking because I wanted to know something about someone else’s opinion, not about my opinion about his likely opinion.

          1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

            Ironically, he’s ignoring you.

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              So fucking what?

  6. Anthony says:

    Gonna have to chalk up Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan up as a fluke, seems like. Luckily there is more consistent Francophone black metal like Peste Noire and Sorcier des Glaces, so we don’t need all this Norma Evangelium Diaboli shit.

  7. ANUSaanite says:

    The last good thing released by this band was a song on a split that sounded like it came from another band. CYFAWS is probably as good as Zyklon-B type of stuff will ever get, but that’s been expelled from memory for staying power and quality reasons.

    1. C.M. says:

      I listened to Cut Your Flesh… a LOT a few years ago and haven’t picked it back up since then :(

      Really was hoping these guys would get their shit together but I’m starting to think you’re right about it being a fluke.

  8. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Some criticism: While a session drummer was reportedly used to record this, he was reportedly only allowed to repeat (as exactly as he could) what the guitar player had already put together with his trusted drum machine. And this shows: While the percussion playing various as the composition demands it, it’s technically demanding, precise and completely lifeless.

    1. Shean Wright a.k.a. Back up in ur azz with the resurrections! says:

      Would you dare to call it lifeless, i.e…. DULL?!

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        I didn’t call it “dull” because I didn’t mean to describe it as “dull”. It’s purely functional. That’s the usual drawback when all of the music happens according to one person’s “masterplan”: Integrating different people’s ideas of something into track adds dynamic (provided they’re all at least tolerably good).

  9. Dr. Khan says:

    From the content of this review, one can determine virtually nothing about what this album sounds like. But hey, you managed to integrate the word “logogenesis” into the review, so good job I guess.

    1. There was no attempt to describe what it sounds like, just what it communicates.

      1. 8==D says:

        It’s a throwback to the autist beat poetry days of DLA!

        Spherical nexuses of meta-rhythmic collapse convey outward pseudo-positioning of viral phrasology in this phrasal network of phrasey phrases.

        1. I'm trying to read my cybernovel says:

          autistic autists making phrasal observations about narrative phrases, narratively, of course

        2. Rainer Weikusat says:

          Beware! The grand vizir’s henchmen are hard on your heels!

          [lifted from some old DSA book, “Hinter euch! Die Haescher des Grosswesirs!”]

      2. Rainer Weikusat says:

        There’s nothing about that, either. There’s a paragraph about something someone found in earlier Antaeus albums, followed by a paragraph speculating about the reasons why ‘something changed in some way’. Details regarding this thing and how it changed can only be inferred from bits and pieces distributed throughout the text.

        This also seems to be auto-translated or picked together from a dictionary carelessly. Eg, ‘inertia’ is a property of matter, the more colloquial term would be ‘dead weight’. “without the dead weight to breach back” makes no sense (regardless of the wrong verb) because ‘dead weight’ doesn’t do anything, it’s an obstacle which has to be overcome.

        1. C.M. says:

          Lol dude. For someone who seems fond of figures of speech I’m surprised you went so hardcore literalist on “inertia”. Obviously it refers to the feeling of weight but in movement, implying the music is carried forward in such a way that you can infer that it’s intensity is unlikely to abruptly stop. Music description necessitates metaphor, else it reads too dry to really get an idea of the experience that the music offers. “Drums are fast and the guitars are fast” doesn’t give anyone an idea if it’s actually any good to listen to. Likewise musical tones are often described as brittle, sharp, chunky, crisp, when obviously the air waves themselves don’t literally exhibit these properties.

        2. Max Bloodworth says:

          You’re picking daisies in a field of tulips. ‘Inertia’ as in an object or something in motion which tends to stay in motion. “Logogenesis” was used instead of “narrative” which is said so much here.

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            NB: I’m trying to understand this (something I’m arguably “not great” at).

            That’s “dead weight”: What causes an object to remain in it’s status quo unless energy is applied to it. Whether or not the status quo happens to be “moving in relation to $something” doesn’t matter. From the two explanations, I can gather that this was probably meant to be “it’s flimsy”, IOW, lacks substance.

            I still have no idea what substance it’s supposedly lacking. I’ve now simply ordered this to see what it is like as the existence of “selfmutilationservice” is dubious.

          2. Picture a normal-ass tabby with a cock the size of a half-bratwurst says:

            Gimme one of them old-time “narrative black metal” bands!

  10. Morbideathscream says:

    Cut your flesh and worship Satan is a good album and the only Antaeus album I have. Never bothered picking up anything else they released. Caught them at mdf 2013 they weren’t bad, not the greatest thing ever, but not bad.

  11. Cynical says:

    I could not disagree more with this review. This album is the recovery of a band that, for the past 13 years, had been growing increasingly irrelevant. They finally realized that the the reason people liked CYFAWS wasn’t just for its literal violence, but for its invigorating nature that showed the beauty behind the divine violence, and then they seemingly spent several years studying “Pure Holocaust” to imbue “Condemnation” with that album’s sense of forlorn beauty, recreating what people liked about CYFAWS in a new form.

    This isn’t a let-down. This is the fiery return to form of a blazing phoenix.

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