Review/Antlers/A Gaze Into The Abyss

A year has past since this release. Yet another one, which passed under the radar.. But also one, that definitely deserves a mention.

“A gaze into the abyss” is the debut from the four-piece Antlers from Leipzig, Germany. Members count Pablo C. Ursusson on guitar, classical guitar and zanfona – also known as a “hurdy-gurdy.” Ntx, also known from Vidargängr, on guitar, keyboards and vocals. M takes good care of the drums and Mts finishes the ensemble, playing bass and doing backup vocals.

According to the all-knowing internet, this is an experienced group of musicians – all having numerous other projects under their belts, before joining forces. Music wise Antlers is probably best described as melodic black metal, with a folk touch. Pablo is also a part of the dark folk band Sangre de Muerdago, and despite Antlers being a different kind of monster, compared to Sangre de Muerdago, the atmospheric and alluring element of folk music, shines through the darkness from time to time.

At times I’d wish, that not every atmospheric/melodic/pagan black/whatever album would open with a mellow instrumental intro – but when it’s done like “Reverence” I’m not the one to deny Antlers doing as such. The following “Carnival of freedom and betrayal” is a great introduction to the rest of the album; fast melodic guitars and roaring vocals on top of heavy hitting rhythm section.

“Hundreds” slows down the pace again, in it’s own monotonous, all most doom’ish, fashion – without ever loosing it’s grip on the listener.

“To the throats” paints the picture of the horrors that takes place on the warfield; adapting a part of the spoken passage, midway through the song, from the poem “A war song to englishmen” by the English poet William Blake.

At times this is propably the most clearcut black metal song among the six featured on “A gaze..” It doesn’t however, at any time, loose the warm organic feel that that the first couple of songs introduced.

“To the throats” is not the only song to feature lyrics rooted in litterature. The lyrics for “Carnival of Freedom and Betrayal” is adapted from the novel “Q”, published by four Bologna based writers, under the famous pseudonym Luther Blisset.

The excellent “Memories of the extinct” closes the album, and leaves me with an impression of an album that might be able to attract attention from a wide range of metalfans, as it contains recognizable elements from most (black) metal sub-genres.

Antlers have been touring this spring, and might hit the road again in the late autumn or winter; in the meantime they are focusing on writing new songs – and the plan is to start recording, when pleased with the material.

If you like the musicstream below, do yourself a favor and buy the album; currently available on cassette tape, LP, or digital download via bandcamp – and while we’re waiting for something new from the guys, keep yourself updated on their facebook page.

 

Don’t want to miss a beat? – then go ahead and  “Like” the PLBM Facebook page.

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