antiqEven back when I got into metal in the early 80s French metal was considered a bit off. The French bands did march to the beat of a different drum. They refused to sing in English so if you wanted to listen to bands like Killer, ADX, Morsüre, Sortilege, H-Bomb, or even Trust, you had to either learn French or just accept that you wouldn’t understand a single word. But not knowing any French has not stopped me from having a special place in my metal heart for French metal. Which brings us to the French label ANTIQ. Not being familiar with their releases I got sent a whole bunch of stuff to review. Not knowing what to expect it is with a mixed bag of excitement and trepidation that I approach the first record in the batch; ASHTAR “Ilmasaari” (Antiq) . It is still a novelty to find a Swiss band that play metal of any sort. Let alone of the more extreme variety, But ASHTAR is just that. This is heavy in the funeral doom kinda way. Yet not at all inaccessible. This doesn’t drag on like paint drying. There is a flow to it that makes it easy to listen to even when the songs last for 12 plus minutes. BRAQUEMAARD “Pendu, traîné par une claie jusqu’à la potence, et mis en quart” (Antiq) . Not being able to correctly pronounce this bands name is no obstacle when it comes to listening to it. Once past the intro this turned out to be extreme metal of a very basic style. I can’t say that I found it to be that interesting. It sounds more fun for those that made it than for us that listen to it. There are bits’n’pieces in the music that catches my attention but as a whole this is not for me. For some reason I can’t help thinking of Blasphemy. GRYLLE “Monstres et Merveilles” (Antiq) . I have no idea what French folk music sounds like but this brings up images of Asterix and Obelix dancing and prancing about (and I don’t mean it in a jokey way). I like the epic feel that there is to this. Don’t know if I’d call it metal but I still find it interesting. There is a medieval feel to this. If you like that kinda stuff this might just be up your alley. For me it is more of a novelty. ORDO BLASPHEMUS “Orgasme Assuaire” (Antiq) . I can’t say what it is but there is something to underproduced, raw black metal that gets my blood pumping. This is just that kinda black metal. There is nothing fancy to it yet it is so very effective in creating the right atmosphere. Just from the music you get an image of a very harsh and remote landscape, totally unfit for humans. This might just be the kind of soundtrack you hear when you ascend to hell. REGIMENT “On les Aura” (Antiq) . Just from the cover of this album I get the feeling that this could very well end being anything or all thing. But what it is is black/death metal of a very darkened style. Nothing melodic over this. But if you like your darkened black/death metal with a slight atmospheric touch then you’ll get just as much pleasure out of this as I have. What could have been a really mundane musical experience turned out to be a really cool one. Anders Ekdahl


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