Undulating growls and wailing feedback act as a sinister fog that’d thicken with ionic charge as the Antichrist Siege Machine would advance. Death metallic riffs serve to intensify the egress through the gates of the damned unto a storm upon the pious. Grey fists and rusted red blades offer havoc and blood– shredding flaxen hair and white-feathered wing from the most pure. Impossible oscillations of blackened sky and grey fuming death reign permanent the bleakest future for the kingdom of the unjust skies. War eternal rages within the most incurable man-made delusions, lives lived without the nuance of grey within their contrast addicted eyes, and there an existence of extremes can only benefit the gods of death, the opportunist, and the invisibly callous puppeteer. True strength lies within the godless, those who are their own anti-spiritual enforcers, waging war against the true evil that is the Christ and his churches infinite list of crimes perpetuated in his name. Created for the purpose of the damnation of all theocratic rule and in defiance of the falsely pious mutilators of mankind this Antichrist Siege Machine blows far beyond its own goals with ‘Schism Perpetration’, and begins to obliterate anything remotely touched by the stink of holiness, innocent or not. It is a ruthless battery of war metallic grooves and growls worth following, a tempest of death aimed at exactly the right target for satisfying half hour pulse of hallucinatory rage.
If the loud, abrasive sheet metal scraping clangor of ‘Morbid Triumph’ (2017) EP was an unblessing upon your ears that’d set up expectations for this 2019 debut temper that abrasion down but take note of the sustained pace, groove, and attack. Arthur Rizk/Bob Quirk‘s treatment of that first EP aimed for a sound that gnashed and clawed at the listener in the loudest way possible, it was riff-forward and didn’t allow for layers of fear and torment to sink in. For ‘Schism Perpetration’ Antichrist Siege Machine tasks Quirk with handling the engineering, mix and mastering process himself which finds their sound moving away from the loud beatings of Caveman Cult and early Diocletian towards the ruthless but dynamic wavelength of compatriots like Abysmal Lord or even Impure, both of whom also employ a heavy dose of death metal groove within their hateful blackened grinding.
Where does the Richmond, Virginia duo differentiate from their peers? Even a quick spin through drummer Scott Bartley (Left Cross, Unsacred) and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Zell (Disevered, ex-Cellgraft) show a foundation rooted in raw death metal, extreme crust, and grindcore all of which inform the impactful skeleton of Antichrist Siege Machine‘s war metallic exterior. If nothing else they’ve managed fantastic syncopation from a performance perspective while pulling the best ideas from shared interests into an ultimately very exciting nine-headed beast on ‘Schism Perpetration’. Ringing feedback, staccato growls drenched in reverb, propulsive death metal riffs, and ‘evolved’ caveman drumming definitely create a distinct enough sound for Antichrist Siege Machine though it only places them beside leaders like Diocletian, Abysmal Lord and Heresiarch not yet beyond them. This is still a remarkable feat for a debut full length and it’d seem they’ve reached this point with a high level of taste in mind.
The criteria I’d use in approach of a war metal album in 2019 does eventually boil down to how memorable the full listen is after five or six full spins versus ten– So, with style notes, all the the right heaviness, and dynamic songwriting in tow the bottom line is that you’re likely only going to dig into this records spastic nuances if you’re already a big fan of black/death metal of the war metal ilk. Though ‘Schism Perpetration’ does lean into the Proclamation and Archgoat side of riffing that’d helped me get into the sub-genre from a death metal attuned perspective it will be the moments of sheer brutality that stand out first for the casual listener. Moderately high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest “Cleaved From Flesh” is the most archetypal example of what Antichrist Siege Machine do right on this record and the pairing of “Hell Fire Reign” with “Numbing Decay” offers up my personal favorite moment on the record where the brutality of the pieces escalate and recede in most satisfying waves.
Heed none but the dark master. 3.75/5.0
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