Once again I find myself taking a chance on a band in the underground that have been active since 2004 and are now finding themselves releasing their debut album, Pax Moriendi, after three demos and a number of years during which the band was in hiatus. The band in question is from Lima in Peru and is called Antichrist. Antichrist like to play things slowly and is strictly within the funeral doom/death category. What we have here are five tracks lasting a total of forty five minutes paying homage to the godfathers of the scene while creating an eerie and mournful atmosphere in the songs and certainly for the most part it definitely works.
Starting off with “Forgotten in Nameless Suffering”, I immediately compare the sound of the album to that of Disembowelment’s “Transcendence to the Peripheral”, especially with the drums. This is not a bad thing as Antichrist sees Disembowelment as a major influence. The eerie keyboards sets the haunting tone of what is to come, with riffs that are so low and heavy, it shatters your ribcage. Mixed with keyboards, the riffs are reminiscent of the early death metal years when bands were experimenting with the use of keyboards and Antichrist does it well. The riffs are not as technical as those of, say, the masters of the genre like My Dying Bride or Winter on this track but there is definitely plenty of atmosphere and it’s a strong opening number. The vocals of Agalariept are of the low, deep and guttural variety that are completely indecipherable which is want you want in this form of music as it adds to the effect.
“Obscurantism” starts off with eerie keyboards once again, setting the tone of a song that again is reminiscent of Disembowelment and with hints of Winter here and there. The first few minutes are what you would expect from funeral death metal and set the atmosphere perfectly for what is to follow. I was surprised to hear that the pace picks up to the extent where there are blast beats from drummer Luis, which will be sure to get the crowd moving. The riffs from Manolo are much faster paced than the opening track and with those haunting vocals; this is definitely the direction I like the band to go in and ends in another eerie keyboard section.
“In the Dark and Mournful Corner of Memory” starts off with a My Dying Bride type riff before the keyboards and deep deathly growls are the order of the day. The riffs are at a slow pace again and if this is the genre of music that turns you on, Antichrist will fulfill your needs with their depressive atmosphere. I like how they merge the music with keyboards and vocals and this deserves to have a larger exposure. Again a faster riff brings in the Disembowelment element and although I have referenced this band on a few occasions already, this is not a bad thing as Antichrist executes their hymns to the dark one with straight forward but excellently executed extreme metal.
“Screams and Lamentations Drowned” starts off as you thought it would with a title like that with it starting straight in with fast pace and short sharp vocals with fast persistent drumming before settling down into the funeral territory. This is a particular strong point of Antichrist, knowing when to change the tempo of the songs to create the effect of mournful, depressive and unforgiving funeral doom death metal.
Last song and twelve minutes long, the beautifully titled “You Will Never See Sunlight” immediately made me think of the Grave track “You Will Never See… Heaven”, but after the few opening chords of slow dissonant guitars, the initial thoughts were put to rest rather quickly. Antichrist again uses the effects of keyboards in a mournful way to add tension to the atmosphere which just gets you lowering and nodding your head in acknowledgement. There is a beautiful mid-section to this track where it has clear vocals and heavy riffs before the keyboards turn up the sound level and increase the effect of the riffs and the vocals. The end of this song and the album is what you would expect, melancholic pianos with mournful clean vocals making the ending depressive and mournful. This is exactly what Antichrist wants and they deliver it well.
This is overall a very worthy album from a band that will garner new followers with this release and, who knows, Antichrist may get to broaden their horizons on the live front to promote this. They may have issues with their name though… but I like it!!!