Listening to this album is a little bit like being strapped down to a chair, Clockwork Orange-style, eyes wedged and forced open, watching a loop of the scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre where Sally is tied-up at the family table, enduring the madness of the night, and the only moment playing over and over is the close-up of her roving eyeball, while somewhere in the background someone is scraping their nails over a chalkboard repeatedly. So, in other words, this isn’t an extremely pleasant listen. It is intense, powerful, and unrelenting. This isn’t the kind of album you put on for fun, but instead use for motivation to crush all your enemies.
Label: Stygian Black Hand
Antichrist Siege Machine hails from Richmond, Va., and this is their first full-length. It is quick and dirty and very vicious. Coming in at around 29 minutes, the band kick down the doors and get right to work, using their belt-sander guitars to buffer all the flesh from your face while they stick snakes down your throat to eat your guts. This is grim, intentionally confrontational Black/Death/War Metal. These guys do not play games. Every song is meant to crush your spirit and then lift you back up again with hands of hatred. They claim this is a declaration of war against theocracy and I can believe it. Imagine the slaughters of Matamoros put to music and you kind of get the overall vibe here.
The two longest songs clock in at over four minutes and the rest just sort of buzzsaw right in and chop up some bodies and get right back the hell out. There is no lingering here, no staring at the corpses, although we do get a nasty, momentary death stomp towards the end of “Hell Fire Reign” that allows you to (very briefly) catch your breath. And other moments are dialed in to get you to take a break, like the silence towards the end of “Numbing Decay” and the sudden switch to TV static at the end of “Apocalyptic Despair.” None of this makes anything better, and it does not soothe you, but instead fills you with dread, knowing that something violent is just up around the corner.
This isn’t the album to crank up on your car stereo, roll down your windows, and stick your elbow out the car and cruise happily to. This is what you listen to when you’re so frustrated by the stupidity and insanity of this world that you need to just burn your mind and heart and soul clean of the dreck. In a weird way, it’s terrific therapy music. If you’re a fan of unrelenting, grim, totally depressing and yet throbbingly powerful Heavy Metal, this is for you. Enter if you dare, but beware: this one will leave you with your soul scattered in exploded pieces all across the floor, just like Frank at the end of the movie Hellraiser. Jesus Wept, indeed.