Album Review – Antichrist / Pax Moriendi (2018)

Get ready for 45 minutes of the most visceral form of old school Doom Metal made in Peru, dragging you to an eternal voyage into the most obscure side of your mind.

Formed in 2004 in Lima, the alluring capital of Peru, but not really kicking into recorded gear until a decade later, Doom/Death Metal act Antichrist soon released a steady stream of demos between 2014 and 2016, all harbingers of the colossal beast that was going to haunt our souls now in 2018, the brutally obscure album Pax Moriendi. Not only this is their highly anticipated debut album, but above that, it’s a piercing, funereal ode to the end of life as we know it. As a matter of fact, Pax Moriendi translates as “the peace of dying” from Latin, just to give you an idea of how lugubrious the whole album sounds and feels.

Across the 45 minutes of music split into five Stygian songs in Pax Moriendi, the listener is taken down into sewers a mile deep (or more), tweaking that immortal doom-death schematic into something righteously foul and filthy, but still well within the range of melancholic human experience. Led by the cavernous growls by lead singer and founder Agalariept, Antichirst are a true behemoth of darkness, blasting low-tuned, macabre sounds and tones that will reach deep inside your skin, bringing you venomous thoughts and, as a consequence, dragging you to an eternal voyage into the most obscure side of your mind.

Ominous, eerie sounds permeate the air in the opening track, darkly titled Forgotten in Nameless Suffering, where the duo Luis M. Guerra on drums and Manolo Zaren on keyboards create a truly phantasmagoric atmosphere, perfect for the deep, dark grunts by the band’s demonic frontman Agalariept. Furthermore, this song brings to you the most primeval form of Doom Metal you can think of, spiced up by orchestral elements in the background and, therefore, being highly recommended for your one-way descent into the pits of hell. Then their Death Metal side arises in brutal and somber fashion in Obscurantism, with Manolo slashing his guitar while bassist Gustavo Rodriguez makes sure our brains detach from our skulls with his low-tuned punches, with the whole musicality being nicely complemented by a whimsical, ethereal break. Also, in order to make things even more sepulchral, Agalariept fires intense, deep gnarls to the point he doesn’t sound human.

In the Dark and Mournful Corner is a flawless depiction of depressive, mournful and obscure Blackened Doom where Luis delivers those slow, sluggish and extremely evil beats, turning the song into some sort of evil mass, while Manolo not only burns our senses with his guitar but he also adds a touch of delicacy to the musicality with his keys. Moreover, it’s impressive how Antichrist alternate between old school Doom Metal and heavy-as-hell Death Metal so smoothly and effectively during the song’s gripping 10 minutes. After such demented aria, it’s time for a frantic display of aggression by Antichrist entitled Screams and Lamentations Drowned, with Luis smashing his drums while Agalariept barks and growls like a devilish beast, becoming a more visceral version of Doom Metal with its core essence reeking of putrid Death Metal. And You Will Never See Sun Light, the longest and murkiest of all songs, brings forward over 12 minutes of sluggish beats, hellish roars and uncanny sounds, with the ghoulish noises in the background making the whole song even more impactful and perturbing, flowing into a lugubrious ending led by the sinister piano by Manolo. Hence, if you survive this tenebrous aria, you’re indeed a true servant of darkness.

And as a servant of all things hellbound it’s your duty to follow Antichrist on Facebook and to buy your copy of the perilous and reverberating Pax Moriendi from Record Shop X, from the NWN! Productions webshop, from the Dark Descent Records webshop, or from the Invictus Productions webshop. Peru might not be known worldwide for its metal scene, but when you dig deep into the Peruvian underworld and find an amazing band like Antichrist, you know it’s time to surrender to the dark side of the “Land of the Incas” and crack your neck headbanging to such powerful display of old school Doom Metal.

Best moments of the album: Obscurantism and In the Dark and Mournful Corner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Iron Bonehead

Track listing
1. Forgotten in Nameless Suffering 8:54
2. Obscurantism 7:44
3. In the Dark and Mournful Corner 10:53
4. Screams and Lamentations Drowned 4:47
5. You Will Never See Sun Light 12:16

Band members
Agalariept – vocals
Manolo Zaren – guitars, keyboards
Gustavo Rodriguez – bass
Luis M. Guerra – drums

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Album Review – Horn / Turm am Hang (2017)

One of the most respected underground musicians from Germany returns with more of his nature-themed, medieval style Black Metal bound to pagan roots and tribalism in another remarkable album.

Rating4

coverSince its creation in 2002 by German multi-instrumentalist Niklas “Nerrath”, Teutonic one-man army Horn has aimed at creating nature-themed, medieval style Black Metal bound to pagan roots, focusing on the relation of man and nature in a regional context. And this excellent project, hailing from Paderborn, a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, has been extremely successful in its journey, delivering high-end extreme music always with a meaningful concept behind it and always singing in its mother tongue German. Now, in the beginning of 2017, we have Horn’s seventh studio album, the folk, dynamic opus Turm Am Hang.

Inspired by the classic German folk song “Es ist ein Schnitter”, from the 17th century, as well as lansquenets (a gambling game of German origin), wars of the past, tribalism and the spirit of masculinity, Turm Am Hang will stimulate your most primeval senses with its distinctive ambience and powerful music. Furthermore, the artwork, layout and visual concept, all brought forth by German illustrator Timon Kokott, perfectly visualize the album’s combined musical and lyrical themes, complementing the already thrilling experience of listening to the music crafted by Nerrath.

After a pleasant folk intro in the opening track, titled Alles in einem Schnitt (which would translate as “everything in one cut”), Nerrath offers us his thrilling Black Metal with Folk and Pagan Metal elements, all sung in German as aforementioned to make things even more aggressive, not to mention the uniqueness of his tribal and stylish guitar lines. The title-track Turm am Hang (“tower on slope”) also begins in a serene way, again exploding into what can be called Blackened Folk Metal, with Nerrath blasting his enraged growls, potent beats and blazing, rhythmic riffs; followed by Verhallend in Landstrichen (“ranging in landscapes”), with the folk elements in the background adding a lot of epicness to the musicality together with its menacing drums. Furthermore, simply close your eyes and you will be able to feel all the energy flowing from the folkloristic sounds generated by Nerrath in this brilliant composition.

primarA song with an impactful name like Die mit dem Bogen auf dem Kreuz (“the one with the bow on the cross”) couldn’t sound less amazing than this, with its somber intro being gradually joined by guitars until all becomes an Extreme Metal extravaganza, perfect for drinking a few pints of beer together with your friends. Ä(h)renschnitter (“spices”) kicks off at full speed, with Nerrath going berserk with his fast-paced beats and riffs while powerfully vociferating the song’s lyrics at the same time. Moreover, hints of old school German Punk Rock are a very welcome addition to the overall musicality, enhancing the song’s effectiveness. And in Totenräumer (“Mortimer”), a fantastic fast-paced creation by Nerrath, our one-man army is startling on vocals, giving life to the song’s epic lyrics. Leaning towards sheer Pagan Metal, it never slows down, keeping the listener fully entertained from start to finish.

The eerie instrumental Lanz und Spieß (“lance and spear”) works as an intro for Bastion, im Seegang tauber Fels (“bastion, in the sea of deaf rock”), a voyage through the realms of experimental and atmospheric extreme music, bringing forward elements of Black and Pagan Metal with an obscure rhythm. Ad lastly, as a “bonus” Nerrath offers the listener his excellent version for The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way, a melancholic and introspective journey of ambient music by American Ambient Black Metal band When Bitter Spring Sleeps, from their 2013 album Coven of the Wolves. Not only this is the only song in English in the album, but it also features guest vocals by American Lord Sardonyx, the mastermind behind When Bitter Spring Sleeps himself.

In order to enjoy everything Nerrath and his amazing project Horn have to offer, simply follow his steps on Facebook, and go to Horn’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel to grab your copy of Turm am Hang. As mentioned before, the experience of listening to an album by Horn is beyond unique, connecting you to the pagan and tribal origins of man and embraced all the time by superior metal music. As this is always the main goal of ambient and experimental extreme music, I must say Turm am Hang triumphs brilliantly hands down.

Best moments of the album: Alles in einem Schnitt, Verhallend in Landstrichen and Totenräumer.

Worst moments of the album: Bastion, im Seegang tauber Fels.

Released in 2017 Iron Bonehead/Northern Silence Productions

Track listing
1. Alles in einem Schnitt 5:42
2. Turm am Hang 5:09
3. Verhallend in Landstrichen 5:10
4. Die mit dem Bogen auf dem Kreuz 5:00
5. Ä(h)renschnitter 5:35
6. Totenräumer 5:34
7. Lanz und Spieß 2:09
8. Bastion, im Seegang tauber Fels 4:44
9. The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way (When Bitter Spring Sleeps cover) 8:12

Band members
Nerrath – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
Lord Sardonyx – additional vocals on “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way”