|Review: Arckanum - Antikosmos|
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 4, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (12 Votes)
It seems that there are two staples to modern Black Metal — Satanism, or in this case "Chaos-Gnosticism", and one-man bands (yes, a massive over generalization I know, but this is just a music review so get off my back OK?), and here, with Arckanum's latest serving of stripped back ire, we have both. Shamaatae, Arckanum's creator, has unleashed upon us Anitkosmos, an album all too long in the making and all too short on content.
Kicking off with some distorted static ambience over which a (too) lengthy diatribe is enunciated in a dry voice, the first track, "Svarti", rips into some raging, hate-filled, thrashy Black Metal à la early Bathory or later era Darkthrone. What follows is a series of deeply misanthropic Black Metal hymns, steeped in Thrash riffs and metal sensibilities, like a musical street brawl between Venom and Hellhammer, which will have you headbanging along to its mostly mid-paced battery. The production is filthy and underground while being pretty fat, with all instruments rumbling along like a charging host of orcs, but at the same time it is completely minimalist as most of the time it sounds like there really is just one guitar, a bass and drums.
Considering the short length of the album, it is unforgivable that fully five minutes of it is wasted with the ambient track "Blóta Loka", full of rumbling and dissonance under some whispered sermon courtesy of one Set Teitan, who had a short stint with those Swedish luminaries Dissection before Nödtveidt's suicide. I do not know what is being said as it is all in Swedish, but even if I could I would still skip it every time as it really is pointless. Luckily it is preceeded by "Nákjeptir", a track full of "Procreation (of the Wicked)"-style Celtic Frost riffs and a very nice, mildly Middle Eastern melody line. Some nice tremolo riffing is also in evidence throughout, most notably in "Svarti" and the almost epic "Sú Vitran" which is the stand out track of the album, but most of the riffs are played at the lower end of the fret board — more Tom Warrior than Ihsahn, which is good because it is what Arckanum do best.
Antikosmos is a bit of a mixed bag with some great Black Metal of the old school mixed liberally with some rather pointless ambient waffling. When it's good it's very good with its old school riffing and palpable spite, but when it's bad it's just boring. At thirty minutes of music, it really is too short especially given its price — the A5 super jewel case is pretty cool, but too expensive — but if you get down on this kind of stripped back 80's blackened Thrash then there is definitely something to enjoy here. Try before you buy.
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Interview with Shamaatae on March 25, 2003 (Interviewed by Barbara Williams (Crowley))
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