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Friday, January 18, 2013

"Conclamatum Est" Review by Lennard Kamischke for Valhalla Promotions

"I was very pleased when Sacerdos Magus sent me a request for a review of the lastest album "Conclamatum Est" of his Lusitanian musical project Antiquus Scriptum. Formed in 1998 by Sacerdos Magus, Asmodeus and Drakonem Drakul, Antiquus Scriptum hail from Almada, Portugal. Soon afterwards it became a one-man-project solely led by Sacerdos Magus. The band has released various compilations and three full-lenght albuns so far, with one of them is "Conclamatum Est". The band plays an unique style of old school Black Metal with epic orchestration, choirs and folk elements. "Conclamatum Est" (Latin: "It Was Shouted Aloud" or "It Is Done!" or "Was Gave Voice To Sadness") was recorded in 2010 with the assistance of several guest musicians. It was published illegally without Sacerdos Magus' permission by Satanica Productions and will be released oficially in February / March 2012 via the Austrian label Talheim Records.The album consists of two parts: "Caput I - Tristitia, Absentia, Molestia" (Chapter I - Sadness, Absence, Suffering), the main part of the album that includes long songs as well as interludes and "Caput II - Tributum" (Chapter II - Tribute), a section of cover songs of well-known bands and songs that Sacerdos Magus originally wrote for his previous bands. The first song on "Conclamatum Est" is a gripping prologue which starts with some cracking, soon followed by driving drums, rough electric guitars, symphonic keyboards and deep spoken words, swords and battle yells, telling the story of the Second Punic War in 218 BC, whereupon hundreds of Carthaginians commited mass suicide."A Hecatombe Of Slaves" - that is the name of the next track which carries on with the storyline of the intro. Hard riffs, blastbeats, orchestral samples and screams open this song. Shortly afterwards the shouted vocals set in which are a distictive characteristic of Antiquus Scriptum. The song gets slower at some parts and deep chanting comes up occasionally and an acoustic break the song turns harder again. Overall the feeling troughout the song is dark and epic. There is much variation in this song and thanks to its magnificent lenght of more than 11 minutes there is enough space for the sound to really take hold of the listener and this is only the second song! Prepare for more...The third song is a magestic interlude that features brass tunes, flutes and orchestral percussion. The beginning of the next song: "Remember Me As King", can be described as ultra magestic. Fanfares and a true Metal riff sounds as if it was written by Manowar, provide a highlight of this album, expecially when they are paired with symphonic keyboards. Soon after the typical Antiquus Scriptum's sound strats again with blastbeats, choirs, shouted vocals and Black Metal styled guitars , following a "Black Metal announcement" the bass turns louder and there is a very old school-styled sound without choirs and orchestras, but this wont last too long, later on there is also completely orchestral part in this song and it returns to the usual sound at some points, with some differences in it, such as spoken words. Again we have much variation in there, which is fantastic, with an epic lenght of more than 15 minutes, it is the longest song on the album. The fifth track is an acoustic atmospheric and medieval sounding interlude called "A Moçoila De Al-Mahadan" (The Maid From Al-Mahadan) , that includes instruments like flutes and bagpipes and is about a secret love between a girl from Almada and a Moorish soldier. The next song, "Den Nordiske Sjell Lever I Meg" (The Northern Spirit Lives In Me) starts with a prayer from "The 13th Warrior" ("Lo there do I see my father...") and sounds quite folky compared to the other songs on this album. It actually features some catchy flute, keyboards and guitar melodies. Apart from the quote at the beginning of this song is entirely instrumental. The seventh track "Eu, O Misantropo... (I, The Misanthrope...) starts with deep and distorted vocals alongside the melody of "Silent Night", but it turns out to be a symphonic Black Metal song shortly afterwards. At some points acoustic guitars are added to the fast drumming, the raw electric guitars and the reverberative shouts, which create an extremely overwhelming atmosphere - another highlight of the album if you ask me. At the end of this song the portuguese National Anthem is played. Sacerdos Magus wants to make clear that Antiquus Scriptum are not a political band in any way, but since we "support muisc - not politics" it is fine with us either way. The eighth track and the third interlude "Anmchara - Uma Alma Amiga" (A Friendly Soul) consists of an enchanting flute melody. The last track from the first chapter "Tristitia, Absentia, Molestia" is an extract from a Mexican radio show that made an interview with Antiquus Scriptum. Now that we are finished with the first part , we continue with the second chapter "Tributum". It has a total lenght of 18 minutes, where as the first chapter was a hour long. The songs that Antiquus Scriptum chose to cover make the roots of the band clearly visible. Actually the cover songs are rather close to the original, so, unfortunately there is a small lack of originality in here, but they are still decent covers and no reason for panic or excitement. The first song is a cover of Venom's "Manitou", followed by "Dethroned Emperor" by Celtic Frost, which the band already released as a digital single some time before. The third cover song is "Skeletons Of Society", originally played by Slayer. The next two songs are short and brutal songs that Sacerdos Magus originally composed for his former Punk / Crossover and Grindcore bands as Psycoma and The Invertebrate. The next song "Philosophy Of Negativity" was created for his previous Crossover band Mordaça. The last song on the whole album is a cover of the prelude of Manowar's half-hour epic "Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts".In conclusion, this is an excellent album with many great ideas and a distinctive Antiquus Scriptum's sound. Unfortunately the total lenght of 76 minutes might make the listener loose concentration at some points. In my opinion, it would a good idea to exclude the cover songs from "Conclamatum Est" and publish them on a one-off release. It might take some time for the untrained ear to get used to the overwhelming Antiquus Scriptum 's sound, but believe me, it is worth the while and after some time all of you will love it! Like the other Antiquus Scriptum's releases, "Conclamatum Est" is available for free download and if you want to do me, Sacerdos Magus and most likely yourself a favour, download it and give it a listen. Furthermore there are more Antiquus Scriptum's releases to come in 2012, such as the new album "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis..." and the compilation "Symphonies Of Winter Through Eternal Forests". Stay tuned!" 85 / 100 (Lennard Kamischke - Valhalla Promotions)

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