Monday, January 13, 2014

Annthennath


Annthennath & Quintessence - Eram quod es, eris quod sum
Armée de la Mort Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

Annthennath:
1. Living in Vanity
2. An Encounter with the Dead
3. The Lesson of Fate
Quintessence:
4. L'Ultime Débaicje
5. Rendez-Vous avec la Mort
6. Le Repos Éternel







Side Quintessence: ...coming eventually...
Side Annthennath:

Wow, just wow. I was not expecting this and for some reason I was few months late to this release, but as soon as I found out about it I immediately ordered it. Based on what we heard with "Bridges to Nothingness", I expected nothing less than some of the most well crafted Black Metal out there. It's been quite some time since we've heard from this band and I'm glad to see they are still going strong and I truly do long for a new full-length, but I'll settle for a new split with the amazing band Quintessence. It is not often I get splits where I really enjoy both bands, but this is one of them! This is released on 12" vinyl and limited to 300 copies, which I'll assume will go fast, given how incredible Annthennath are. I still think Annthennath is one of the better kept secrets in Black Metal today, but they always manage to deliver some truly stunning material. It comes in beautiful gatefold packaging with stunning and historic artwork. This really makes the release even more worth getting.

It seems over the years the band has lost the guitarist Lyshd, but that hasn't stopped N from composing some incredible Black Metal with Welkin's incredible bass work in the background. Annthennath always manage to craft this incredibly high quality melodic and moody feeling Black Metal. It always has this soaring melodic element, but cast in an ugly disturbing fashion, which is fairly usual for the French scene and one of the reasons, I think, I adore the regions contribution to Black Metal so much. They take the oft used Scandinavian formula and twist it ever so slightly to give you an entirely different emotional experience.

In a mere three tracks we have an incredible experience. If you haven't heard of Annthennath yet, it really is in your best interest to do so. If this was a full-length it would surely be hitting the upper tier of my top ten for this year. So, I'm really hoping for a new Annthennath full-length in the near future. This kind of Black Metal should be heard by all, as far as I'm concerned! Get this before its gone.


Annthennath - Bridges to Nothingness
Armée de la Mort Records, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Life Abhorrence
2. Death Glorification
3. Nothingness Achievement
4. Rivières de Sang
5. Subhuman Terrorism
6. Omega
7. Existence Fanée
8. Suicide Onirique







Annthennath has had a very productive block of time and very soon after "States of Liberating Departure" they've already written and recorded new material ready for release. Unfortunately, this isn't entirely new material and "Bridges to Nothingness" serves as a sort of compilation once we move beyond the third song. After this new material Annthennath would grow quite silent for many years and as of 2014 they still do not have any new material being released.

This album opens with three new songs and they are absolutely magnificent! This is some of the best Annthennath material I have certainly ever heard. With the band writing material this strong I'm saddened to see they would quiet down and I can only hope they are working on quite the magnum opus in the meantime. The guitar work is exceptionally melancholic and the bass guitar really cuts through on these recordings making it a really haunting experience as well. Two very interesting emotions to go through at the same time and Annthennath really nails it perfectly. Shaxul's lyrics may be the most nihilistic this time around and with him giving voice to the music really sets the stage for a very memorable listen. "Death Glorification" is probably my favorite of the new songs though.

After this we get to hear the demo tape "Subhuman Terrorism" on CD finally. If you missed out on the tape it's a little different and more simplistic than their modern material, but I always like being able to hear a bands history. So, if you're like me and missed out on this tape then this is great to hear to catch up on Annthennath's history. "Existence Fanée" seems to be one of the more interesting tracks on here. It's a studio recording from 2005 before Shaxul ended up joining as vocalist, so the vocals are performed by N6. I think this track gives us an interesting sense of what Annthennath would have been like if Shaxul had never joined. I think N6's vocals improved quite a lot, but they carry a very different presence compared to Shaxul's. I think Annthennath's music would have still been quite successful, but Shaxul's vocal style really brings things to life in a very different way and I actually prefer his vocal style. Still "Existence Fanée" is a good, if older song. The final track is a noisy recording of the bands first rehearsal in 2002. You really can't tell what's going on due to the poor quality and I guess it's an interesting piece of history to hear.

In the end the new tracks make this well worth getting and it makes me hopefully that a new album would surface sooner, but it really hasn't. I really just hope this project hasn't been put aside, because I think these musicians were really hitting upon something great. This bands newer material is highly recommended!


Annthennath & Frostmoon Eclipse - Human Infanticide
Armée de la Mort Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Annthennath:
1. Medea Encomium
Frostmoon Eclipse:
2. Newborn Misery











Side Frostmoon Eclipse: ...coming eventually...
Side Annthennath:

After an immense debut full-length Annthennath have also lined up doing a split with another new song. This song is featured on this 7" split with Frostmoon Eclipse and is limited to 300 copies. One of the special things about this recording is that it was done in Drudenhaus studios by Anorexia Nervosa's Xort, and I always feel he does an exceptional job when it comes to production. His methods have definitely let the Annthennath sound shine through perfectly.

"Medea Encomium" is a truly spectacular song with some of the more misanthropic lyrics probably out there. The song is an excellent blend of the more melancholic guitar stylings on the earlier material blended with some wonderfully raging viciousness. Usually this kind of thing can be difficult to pull off, because a song can wind up feeling disjointed and thus ruin the experience for the listener However, I think "Medea Encomium" really blends those two concepts perfectly. I really think Annthennath have put together a wonderful sound and I always quite enjoy when their music comes on. So, if you truly enjoyed "States of Liberating Departure" then this track is also a must hear for fans of this project.


Annthennath - States of Liberating Departure
Pictonian Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Survival Activation
2. Emotional Balance
3. Symbolic Awareness
4. Sexual Transcendence
5. Somatic Hedonism
6. Electric Destiny
7. Bloody Rivers
8. Atomic Demise







After a mere two demos, I still feel like a full length from this band was long coming. After "Paeans of Apostasy" you could tell the band had a strong line-up with a more mature musical direction and they were ready to log some serious studio time! Well they did not let down, the beautifully designed "States of Liberating Departure" is a great release. The booklet and all the art surrounding it are also quite beautiful as well, truly making this worth buying.

I really liked the direction "Paeans of Apostasy" was heading, but I still felt parts were a little disjointed. "States of Liberating Departure" definitely fixes any of the problems from before and really builds on the strengths of the prior demo. I will say the opening track "Survival Activation" is an interesting choice to open with. It's the hardest hitting and shortest track on the album. It's a very no-frills type of track of fairly traditional sounding Black Metal. However, even though it transitions into "Emotional Balance" well, "Emotional Balance" does eventually take one some of those more melancholic guitar arrangements we heard on "Paeans of Apostasy".  At times I hear touches of early Deathspell Omega, but I'm actually not sure how much that perception is influenced by Shaxul's signature vocal style. Other moments really hint at a Shining influence, but I really think Annthennath present stronger material for me. The real stand out aspect and what sets Annthennath apart from other bands playing this style is Welkin's stunning bass performance. He really makes this material shine. Annthennath's material would be quite good regardless, but the care taken with writing interesting bass lines really gives their music an extra dimension that just isn't as present in most Black Metal projects.

So, if you're looking for a band that sits in the realm of melancholy, but actually has a more vicious edge then Annthennath is probably just the Black Metal band to fit that requirement. It is interesting to hear that they can harness some very intense moments amidst a rather somber chord structure, but they pull it off quite well and everything fits together quite nicely.


Annthennath - Paeans of Apostasy
Goat Music Records/Genocide Productions, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

1. Paean of Apostasy
2. Terminate It
3. The Only Escape
4. Anti-Human Terror
5. Subliminal Terrorism










This is Annthennath's second demo and there have been some serious changes in this project. This is one of those time frames where a listener would begin to think this project is dead. It took four years just to get to a second demo, which could be considered unfortunate, but in this case I'm going to say the time away seems to have been quite well spent.

I think Annthennath have found a better voice than guitarist N6 on vocals. Here we find out where Shaxul went after leaving Deathspell Omega and I must say he fits in perfectly with Annthennath's sound. Annthennath's sound has also changed drastically. I feel like the guitar lines have become far more contemplative and melancholic. This really gave license to Welkin to develop some truly incredible bass lines for this album. I have a feeling that "Paean of Apostasy" is the most recent track composed, because it is by far the best on the album. The other tracks are good, but just not nearly as compelling in the same way. The album really changes with "Anti-Human Terror" and these seems to be closer to the material we heard on the first demo. This song had a more raw and basic feel to the way it was composed and it didn't fit as much with the rest of the atmosphere this demo builds upon. "Subliminal Terrorism" which is basically attached to "Anti-Human Terror" is just an Ambient outro.

So, other than the final track, this is an excellent demo. This is a great direction for Annthennath and I truly look forward to wear the project will go in the future. The addition of Shaxul really adds a wonderful layer to their atmosphere that just wasn't there before. While I don't think Shaxul would sound very  good in modern Deathspell Omega, he fits absolutely perfectly with Annthennath. He is lucky to be part of project that complements his vocals this perfectly again. This is definitely worth hearing and watching for the future.

Annthennath - Subhuman Terrorism
Krieg Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Rivieres de Sang
2. Subhuman Terrorism
3. Omega













Strangely I missed out on hearing this band until very recently (2013). Given my love for Deathspell Omega and their early work, I never payed attention to what Shaxul was up to. Now, "Subhuman Terrorism" came out before he joined this project, but he would eventually join and that's why I end up with this demo tape now. I think this tape is quite long gone, unfortunately, so I am forced to review some mp3's I downloaded.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this project, seeing as how I haven't really listened to any of the material I own from them. The songs are pretty lengthy, so luckily the music is pretty good. I think at this point Annthennath have a lot of Burzum influence, but since I've never really been a huge Burzum fan, I rather like Annthennath's approach. One aspect that I wasn't too into were the vocals, since they model Varg's original high pitched wail for the most part. At times Annthennath's music is a lot catchier than a lot of the earlier Scandinavian bands. One aspect that really stands out is the bass guitar, which I was not expecting at all. In most Black Metal band the bass guitar is not very present, other than to thicken up the tone of the music (otherwise it sounds far too thin). However, Annthennath have the bass mixed very prominently and even it takes some lead parts during the music. This was a very awesome thing to hear. The closing track is an epic eleven minutes in length, but there's a solid break in the middle where we hear a piano and a human crying in pain or something with other sound effects. This sort of reminded me of something Shining would do and maybe there is a degree of influence from that project. After this break, the song picks up with some absolutely great riffing. The bass takes on that haunting feeling like we hear on "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas," which sounds especially perfect for closing off this demo.

In the end Annthennath have produced a relatively interesting debut and I would be interested in hearing what they produce in the future. I think this is a fairly strong beginning and I'm curious to see if they'll grow beyond their main influences.


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