A tale of torment and corrosive emotional shadows, Revenge of the Antichrist is a compelling concept album which ignites the imagination, pushes thoughts, and inflames ears. As much as those are always wants, at times the body also needs a stimulus to feed from and the new album from German industrial metallers Devil-M is packed to the rafters with rhythmic bait and hypnotic sonic incitement persuasion to pull limbs and torso into its imaginative devilry. At times a release which makes you draw rapid awe bred breath and in other moments a testing yet enthralling challenge which needs some work to embrace, Revenge of the Antichrist is a gripping and rigorously fascinating treat.
Devil-M is the brainchild of Max Meyer, the band emerging in 2006 as a solo project for the Schöningen hailing musician. Merging his interest in movie scores with pungent electronic diversity, the project was soon contributing soundtracks for independent movies like Die at Dawn. 2009 saw Meyer turn the proposition into a band format which was swiftly followed by a relatively well-received release of debut EP Willst Du sterben and a host of live shows with bands like Nachtblut. In 2011 first album Kannst Du sterben was unveiled to strong and positive responses, its success followed a year later by the uniting of the current line-up of guitarist Lars Everwien, bassist Lisa Hass, and Sonja Langenfeld on keys alongside Meyer. Shows with band such as Grausame Töchter, Centhron, Vlad in Tears, Angelspit, and FabrikC pushed the band’s presence and reputation further which Revenge of the Antichrist and its fiery blend of industrial metal and cinematic/theatrical endeavour can only reinforce and open a wider attentive spotlight upon Devil-M.
Drawing on inspirations like Lars von Trier’s movie Antichrist and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Revenge of the Antichrist tells the dark story of Astharat, a man suffering schizophrenia who kills his wife, and his mental turmoil and descent. The album begins with the two parted Rising, both Unholy and Siddhartha Gautama within the seamless track uniting for a transfixing opening. Keys instantly craft an appealing lure which a potent rhythmic enticement accentuates before an ascent of dark harmonies and energy comes in to help build an imposing and intriguing wall of sound and coaxing. Moving into more antagonistic shadows, the track begins stalking the senses and prowling the imagination with raw riffs and threatening beats, guided by the equally caustic tones of Meyer. It is a trap impossible to resist entering; the melodic call of keys a deceitful welcome into the jaws of an intensive examination and corrosive landscape. Like a mix of Nine Inch Nails and God Destruction, the track is an irresistible doorway into the album’s musical and lyrical narrative.
The following Apokrypha soon rewards entry with an even stride of pulsating beats and crowding riffs within a climactic atmosphere of harsh electro squalls and acidic melodies. The song is a bruising and simultaneously seductive proposition, the varied guttural roar and clean vocals of Meyer a pleasing texture within the climactic air and inventive stroll of the song. The track is the coming out of the tale’s demonic character with sounds colouring thoughts and ideas as potently as the lyrical premise. Its impressive presence is matched by the clearer but no less menacing scenery of Astharat, the full emergence of the album’s protagonist adorned with celestial harmonies latched to predatory intent and textures. Again as with its predecessor, the often subtle and at times dramatic twists and turns makes for a riveting encounter though they are not as imposing as in the previous song or as addictive as in the next up Scrabbed Angel. Its initial electro teasing is a tempting which soon takes on a leering edge to its addictive beckoning. Once the rhythms are in open swing the virulently contagious instrumental provides an inescapable toxicity of turbulent intimidation and primal seduction.
From one pinnacle of the album another instantly steps forward to steal the soul. Rebirth is a rabid surge of charging rhythms and tenacious hooks, a nimble footed and heavily shadowed dance of evocative lures and destructive ingenuity honed into another powerful charm offensive crafted by the keys and the delicious backing tones of Langenfeld. Openly inspired by Marilyn Manson and blessed with a Hanzel und Gretyl like revelry, the track is a glorious incitement and pleasure, a success which in many ways the album never manages to match again.
From Birth To Death though is certainly a formidable successor and proposition, its initial repetitious nagging of whispered vocals rich bait behind which a raw blaze of guitar busies itself before erupting into a ferocious slice of metal seeded brawling with a thick air of early Pitchshifter and Prong against the swirling electro colouring of keys. The song is an unfussy and thrilling grazing on the senses, a voracious onslaught to bring another varied twist to the album as the lead character relentlessly spells out his presence.
There is a feel of the harsher side of Dope to the following Good Way Of Dying as well as a Numan-esque gothic resonance to the impressive track. It is another where the guitars take a slightly more prominent position and the song definitely blossoms from their caustic lead to offer something different again before the two parts of the title track envelope ears and thoughts. Pt.1 is a maelstrom of malevolent vocals, angelic melodies, and hypnotic persistence around the darkly serpentine psyche of Astharat with its viciously rasping temperament. Pt.2 is a briefer and clearer provocation from the album’s central figure, its uncompromised intent and less muggy atmosphere presenting a clarity which is as imposing and intimidating as the tempestuously spawned onslaughts.
Both the piano led Love Is Not Available with its appealing scuzzy touch and the bewitching Garden Of Eden leave thoughts and ears engrossed, though neither can live up to the earlier songs. Each does provide their own individual and rewarding dramas, the first of the pair an emotive reflection which shines with beauty within a more vociferous hazy breath. Its successor is fuelled by an infectious rhythmic resourcefulness within a meandering and magnetic caress of melodic keys and heaven spawned harmonies. It is an elegant instrumental unafraid to show its sores and blemishes and though as mentioned it cannot live up to earlier successes, it lingers to pleasing effect.
The wonderful I Am God has no such problems, its beauty and majesty creating another major highlight. With again the piano honing the song’s expression behind the enchanting unique tones of Langenfeld, the track is mesmeric and littered with gripping touches like the colder surfaced backing vocals of Meyer and the rustic electronic scattering which brings a real edge to the smouldering grace of the song. Its emotive grandeur is followed by the weighty intensity of the narrative’s closing chapter Harmful Scab. A short and imposingly potent press on the imagination, it makes a satisfying conclusion to the album’s story, though it still has a trio of remixes to offer, from Centhron, Blackest Light, and Grausame Töchter, all offering pleasing interpretations to a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable release which just gets better and more colourful with every listen.
Revenge of the Antichrist is available now @ http://devil-m.bandcamp.com/album/revenge-of-the-antichrist
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