I would say it’s hard these days to have a subject that most extreme metal bands out there have not explored yet. Satanism? World wars? The medieval period? Sexual abnormalities? All of it has been pretty much eaten, swallowed, shat out, and re-swallowed. Not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing (hell, I usually don’t even listen unless there’s a nun and semen involved, somehow) but I am saying it’s quite refreshing to see other themes being explored.
One of those themes would be exploration into history and as such it already turns the Bavarian act Antrisch into something you don’t bump into every day.
If we take these themes and combine it with some of the band members’ taste for a melodic side of things (as also seen in another project most of the members participate in, Kromlek) and tune it down a bit, thus making it darker and more atmospheric, we’ll get “Expedition II: Die Passage”.
It opens with “I Festgefroren – Packeisfalle” and lays out the path that both, the ship that we’re currently on, alongside the album we’re currently spinning, would take. The riffs that are leading the package here are as cold as they get, and the build-up with speed and blast beats sometimes end in a magnificent feeling of hopelessness. The band achieves this without actually tripping into the “depressive” side of music, yet the music and the lyrics are just that.
Musicianship-wise, Antrisch excels in kneading different ingredients into the same dough. Whether it’s the melodies that turn “II Wahnrationen – Saturnusparusie” into an up-beat gem at the hands of NhéVaN, or the slower, doomy, bass-led “In Perpetuum” into which we’re thrown on a sinking explorer ship, where the spoken (I mean, screamed) words are those of anticipated frost and death.
As a black metal album that relies on its melodies and smart song construct, it’s refreshing to see so much depth and history intertwined in the lyrics. They may all be in German but once you get the meaning of them, you see how the Bavarian group dives into the deeper layers of human emotions when it’s on the brink of meeting a fate that consists of turning in to a frost-bitten object, while even the ground is so frozen that a comrades’ body cannot even be properly buried.
Sound effects aren’t really subtle here, but the amount that was used is actually adding more on the edges of a song, while not retracting from the main attraction. I mean, if it’s an album starring ships and crews, it’s obvious that the sounds of a ship’s mast, howling winds and underwater effects would be clear.
Walking the fine line between dreary and desperate continues with “IIII Ultima Ratio – Antropophager Frühling” and its successor, “IIIII Exodus”. Where the cold, lingering riffs almost dictate the outcome of the events and the fate of the ones speaking, whereas with the last track of the album, “IIIIII 68° 15′ N 98° 45′ W – 68° 54′ N 98° 56′ W” (Yep, coordinates!) one doesn’t even need lyrics, as letting the music alone pull you deeper into the ocean is more than enough.
Release Date: May 2023
- I Festgefroren – Packeisfalle
- II Wahnrationen – Saturnusparusie
- III In Perpetuum – Ewiger Schlaf im ewigen Eis
- IIII Ultima Ratio – Antropophager Frühling
- IIIII Exodus | Tundrataumel – Croziers Bürde
- IIIIII 68° 15′ N 98° 45′ W – 68° 54′ N 98° 56′ W