Antaeus - Cut Your Flesh And Worship Satan
Baphomet Records
Black Metal
7 songs (30:50)
Release year: 2000
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

There are many things that the French do well, and Black Metal is one of them. Leaving aside the many bands one could name at this point as essential, it's Antaeus who are the standard-bearers in more ways than one. Formed in 1994, the band have been an on-off, here-there presence in the Black Metal world, respected yet never really talked about. Cut Your Flesh And Worship Satan was the band's first full-length, released in 2000, and whilst it's not the band's best album it's certainly an interesting place to start. With a title like that there's no excuse for not knowing what you're going to get, and Antaeus soon prove their gnarliness. Heck, even the required spooky intro sections (starting every track here) are genuinely spooky and unsettling, but it's the Black Metal itself which is the attraction here - an attraction that's been severely disfigured, of course. Ugliness is the key word here, and Antaeus are ugly. Clattering, organic drums scurry around like revolting insects, guitars form a deranged and strangely epic yet completely ambient backdrop as vocalist MkM does all but vomit his guts up.

Yes, this is anything but pretty. Inviting these guys onto the Eurovision Song Contest would result in a bloodbath, and not just because of the self-mutilation. Not many would have the skills required to write songs like Devotee, beginning with two minutes of ambience and moving onto pure blasting before slowing the pace, going oddly catchy for moments before sinking back into rotting putridity. Interestingly, the bass is completely audible, the band choosing to create the atmosphere themselves rather than with a poor production, and it works completely. Not all electronic experimentation in the post-millennial Black Metal world was so lucky, but here the noisy screeches that open and close tracks are exactly that - not a disco beat or burst of techno to be found.

There are faults, of course. You have to come armed with a certain amount of respect for bands that are so willing to worship Lord Sathanas that they cut themselves (of course, they might be posturing but I doubt it after many listens to this). It should also be pretty obvious that this doesn't make big emotional shifts; hatred, misanthropy, war and chaos rule the day. Blandness and mindless blasting are simply not to be found in a band whose motto is "we hope you die". Antaeus are actually shits, if you think about it; mean cold-hearted people who would most certainly laugh and ride by as the Good Samaritan helped his unfortunate Levite, if they weren't actually attacking them both. This means that the moments of catchiness and even of groove such as in Bleeding Blasphemy are meant not to help a confused listener find his path, but red herrings that will be withdrawn as quickly as they appear. If there was a musical equivalent of those who lit false lights to guide ships onto rocks, then Antaeus would be it. Nasty stuff, not for the faint-hearted.

Killing Songs :
Inner War, Devotee, Bleeding Blasphemy
Goat quoted 76 / 100
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