Although this masterpiece was release almost two years ago I listened to it so many times that I had an immense urge to write something about it. Triggered by the recent European CD release by Vendetta records - who already made a couple of vinyl pressings of this album - I put it back to my playlist and still feel its immense intensity with catching melodies and incredible atmosphere. ANTLERS just made an impressive debut with “A Gaze Into The Abyss”!
Although ANTLERS are active only since 2013 and this was their first output in 2015, this record exhales massive elements of black metal played in the mid 90s. Some epic parts remind me of the phenomenal orchestration by Dissection while other grimm and melancholic parts contain some early Siebenbürgen. But “A Gaze Into The Abyss” is not a pure rip-off at any second. They just take the best elements of the genre and combine them to an outstanding black metal album. Doesn’t matter if you call it “atmospheric” or just “black metal”.
The balance between blazing fast thunderstorms and slowed down moments creates a variable overall picture. Bound together by the omnipresent atmosphere. Mostly grimm, cold yet somehow melancholic. ANTLERS create this intense feeling by arranging all instruments in a very sophisticated manner. In one moment furiously blasting with more or less reduced riffs and playful and slow paced in the very next turn of a song. In those slower passages all instruments seize the possibility to expand. Starting with very subtile but decent bass lines to epic guitar solos or massive interwoven harmonies.
Next to surprising turns within the songs, the slower passages have great developments. Starting with faster paced doublebass, more harmonies and leads, that push the progress to another limit, or subtle breaks. ANTLERS get their songs as exciting as the whole album is in total.
If you are not familiar with this awesome band from Leipzig, Germany, yet just go ahead and listen to “A Gaze Into The Abyss” on bandcamp. It is a fantastic record, full of great harmonies and sad atmosphere. Over the two years since its release I still enjoy this album on a regular basis. I just have to recommend it to all fans of intense and atmospheric black metal.
As said before: Get your copy on CD and LP via Vendetta. And if you prefer your music digitally, you can get it for a humble fee from both the bands and the labels bandcamp-profile.