Antlers – A Gaze Into the Abyss ALBUM REVIEW

It’s hard to make black metal sound epic. Mostly because raw black or black thrash simply doesn’t have enough variety or any kind of melodic moments to be epic sounding, and when atmo black tries to sound epic, typically this album happens. If there is a single thing I hate the most in metal, it’s when an album tries to be emotional or epic and does this in the means of the obvious or cheesy. And this album does that in spades.

Take the intro. It’s the typical black metal acoustic intro, except the only chords in it are I-VII-IV-V-I. This is a very commonly used chord progression, so I can’t take a shot at it for using it. What I can do is point at the musical tone and inflection. Just like speech, music changes it’s meaning based on tone and inflection. For instance, Adagio for Strings probably wouldn’t be taken seriously if it was played by kazoos (I seriously couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of this, this needs to exist). Here, the intro is being played by nice acoustic guitar with violins in the background. Clearly this is supposed to be taken seriously. And that’s the problem. The second that A major chord plays, I can’t appreciate this piece like I’m supposed to. It sounds so amateurish, like someone’s first attempt at a composition after learning basic music theory. Yeah, it’s technically correct, but it has absolutely no soul to it at all. It feels mechanical, which is the exact opposite of the vibe they’re going for. Of course it doesn’t help that it doesn’t flow into the next track at all, which is straight up black metal, basically negating everyone about the intro. The acoustic intro is one of those tropes I’m really tired of hearing, especially when it seems to only be there for filler and tradition purposes rather than actually being cohesive with the rest of the album.

Speaking of the which, the rest of the album is essentially just really generic atmo-black. It has some moments, like a really awesome, heavy metal-esque guitar solo on the second track which, while cool, is really out of place with the rest of the album. Really, I think the biggest problem with this album is the overuse of the major V chord. It makes everything just seem too technically correct, and it loses any kind of emotional impact it could have otherwise. It doesn’t help that, in the least technical terms possible, absolutely jack shit happens in this album. Even by atmo-black standards, this just sounds like bland noise over mediocre black metal vocals.

I would say that the cover is nice, but then I noticed the orgasming deer, and that put me off. I originally was going to rate this as average, but then I realized that I had pretty much no nice things to say about this album, so I should probably rate this well below average. Remember kids, when making your debut album, make sure you have more than a basic understanding of music, otherwise this happens.


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