"Blood Libels"

(The Ajna Offensive)

01. Rot
02. Cyklic Torture
03. Control and Abuse
04. Colliding in Ashes
05. Word as Weapons
06. Here Is Punishement
07. Gates to the Outside
08. Blood Libels

RATING: 7/10

Getting a promotional CD from a French black metal act is now the norm, rather than the exception. The French black metal underground has been polluting the ears of fans the world over in a big way these last couple of years. ANTAEUS is yet another vicious beast and "Blood Libels" is about as aurally violent as it gets. Following jolly little albums like "Cut your Flesh and Worship Satan" and "De Principii Evangelikum", the new platter is about as relaxing as a DARK FUNERAL disc. And yet it is even more straight ahead in the manner in which subtly is tossed out the window in favor of complete annihilation of all that is holy and pleasing to the senses.

"Blood Libels" is the kind of black metal album for which one most be prepared due to the overwhelming nature of the sonic atrocities committed. In other word, it'll rip your face right off if you're not careful. The first spin of the disc is an especially jolting one, seemingly sounding more like a whirlwind of razor blades than a collection of songs. However, it is not as though deep layers of compositional brilliance reveal themselves with additional listens either. The delivery is blast-beaten and dangerously up-tempo, save for the occasional tempo break. Not that the band does not alter riffing styles to some degree, but arrangement variance is limited. Brief breaks in the tempo go a long way, even if standing up from your position cowering behind the sofa never seems like a good idea. "Word as Weapons" and "Gates to the Outside" (especially the latter) include relatively effective, breaks in the unrelenting attack, though serene interludes are nowhere to be found. What you do get is the occasional creepy sound effect, as found during the whole of introductory piece "Rot" and the closing sections of "Word as Weapons", "Here is Punishment", and "Gates to the Outside". These sections are downright frightening, as demonstrated by vocalist MkM's demonic shouts during the title track. Rather than coming off as filler, the songs are held together cohesively by these iniquitous segments.

If you're looking for progressive, symphonic, or experimental black metal, stay the hell away from "Blood Libels". This one is about melting faces. As the saying goes, "lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way."


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