Friday, January 18, 2013
Review of Raven Eyes Like Mirrors about the album "Conclamatum Est" for Encyclopaedia Metallum
"Holy shit! Why is this not on a professional CD!??! What Sacerdos Magus has created in his Antiquus Scriptum project is something very very original. His extensive history in underground extreme music of many styles has distilled well into this, his rather experimental black metal project. Best be prepared when approaching this music to leave behind preconceptions of what you are expecting from a project with such ornately adorned artwork and a gay-looking, cute-faced band photo. Flowers, unicorns, knights, and castles that plaster his albums and his old Myspace page mask intelligently wicked pagan black metal that is primed not only with a finely cultivated mid 90’s sound, but a head-smashing juvenile sound that one would be more accustomed to find on an 80’s punk record! Antiquus Scriptum’s riffs are so damn catchy and so damn headbanging and glorious. Bands like the ever loved Midnight are not the only ones capable of doing this retro sound with honest to goodness perfection! And in Antiquus Scriptum’s case, Magus' longtime involvement in old Portuguese grindcore and punk bands have honed in his compositions into rollicking bliss! Mix that traditional aesthetic in with the 90’s European black metal sound and you get damn good music. But then add additional gothic/pagan ambiance, a few folk instruments, and epic length songs…. suddenly you have something outright unheard of and wholly unique!
This is what defines Antiquus Scriptum. This album in particular maintains that individual character. But specifically in this case, a concept album about Portuguese historical themes, Magus focuses in on the mid 90’s black metal facet, though the rollicking still makes its presence known with killer effect such as in the song “Den Nordiske…” as well as in how Magus throws out black metal screeches for punk vocal barking. Each song, including the long ones, has tight and flawless compositions that carry the general mood of the album yet remain richly colored in their own spans. Magus also weaves in the keyboards and acoustic guitars liberally in the proper mid 90’s style and moreso. Plus, there are visits from tin whistles and uilleann pipes as well! Wow….
Now, I am the type who prefers black metal with ambiance from symphonic or folk elements. And to have these things delivered to me with a band that has such a retro and convincing sound that I can yell “FUCK YEAH METAL!” to is delightful and immensely satisfying! God, I find myself regularly returning to this album. Multiple listens do not bother me in the least and never do I get the sensation “yeah this is eh pleasant” or “if they could just have a little more originality.” And once I get a song started, even though I have heard it a lot before, I am still compelled to listen to it all the way through. This CD definitely rises above the rest and it has lead me to uncover and purchase an Antiquus Scriptum shirt and now watch eagle eye for anyone selling any more of his infuriatingly uncommon and poorly pressed albums.
My only complaint that avoids this CD from a straight 100% is the pressing. Original copies came as a CD-R in an actual SLIMLINE jewel case! Not a thin little singles case with a foldout j-card, but an actual slimline. The same shitty things that your CD-Rs from the department store come in. Come on… seriously with as much music as well made as you have put out Magus (and in a thousand different additions), I find it impossible to believe you can’t get a little label to press that baby onto something more permanent than a crappy dubbed tape or a CD-R. Antiquus Scriptum’s music is worth a hell of a lot more than that. Unless people are too stupid to see creative and original metal music these days. Midnight shouldn't have a monopoly on all this retro cred just for blackening old thrash and death albums. Why not old 80’s punk? Or Fimbulwinter? And mid-90’s black metal all rolled into one? Get behind this band people, and Magus, get some professional pressings done and get to writing more fucking songs!" 98% / 100 (Raven Eyes Like Mirrors / Encyclopaedia Metallum)