Spite - Antimoshiach - (8.5/10)
Published on August 29, 2018
Album covers are very important to me. I think I have a bit of synesthesia when it comes to album covers. I often associate albums with their covers, and think of the music in terms of the artistic aesthetic of the cover. E.g., I think of Undergang’s debut, Indhentet af døden as a “grey” album, whereas I think of their banger from last year, Misanthropologi, as a “red” album. In most cases, like the two I just mentioned, it doesn’t make a lick of fucking difference what color the album is—it doesn’t usually affect my enjoyment. A cover has to be really bad to negatively impact my enjoyment of an album. On the other hand, a really good cover can increase my enjoyment of an album because it plants an aesthetic in my head through which to contextualize the sounds I’m hearing. As weird as the cover of Antimoshiach is, it is one of those covers that sets a very nice tone for the album and fits the strange, otherworldly—and of course, satanic—contents within.
Spite is a one-man black metal project hailing from Brooklyn, New York. WAIT! Before you run screaming, thinking that this will be like some other New York black metal projects, ones that perhaps rely a bit too much on style over substance (Liturgy) or stray too far off the beaten path, to diminishing returns (Krallice, Castevet), just wait one second. Unlike some of their Nueva York compatriots, Spite plays in an old school, evil-as-hell style of black metal that it would be hard to imagine being featured on the pages of indie tastemaker zines.
I’m starting to see a pattern here in that every black metal album I enjoy tends to be either extremely filthy and rotten or highly influenced by Mortuary Drape and with a lot of trad influence. This one is one of the latter. A lot of Spite’s riffs are slower, groovier with plenty of melodic flourishes thrown in. The melodies are where the traditional metal influences come in, often sounding like another band who mastered injecting heavy metal into black metal, Grand Belial’s Key. Riffs are very creative, too. I usually can’t handle black metal that is too reliant on straight trem riffs that don’t vary all that much. Spite packs lot of riffs into each song and they often break free of more standard black metal riffing templates, to great effect. Salpsan is great at interrupting riffs with little flares and nuanced additions that add color to his guitar playing.
The drums are mixed beautifully and sound great. Everything is clear as day, so you can hear every cymbal and bass kick, but it’s not squeaky clean. Outside of the excellent sound, there’s plenty of that heavy metal influence here, too. Many of the drum patterns are driving and bouncy, producing some evil grooves that almost make you want to dance through the graveyard. There is also something punky about them; there’s a force and an urgency to the drums that sounds like a guy just having a great time while playing. Despite the occult mood of this album and the evil lyrics, the bouncy drums are a lot of fun which makes this album a very easy listen. That’s not to say that Salpsan can’t get rough and rowdy when he needs to. He’s plenty good at pulling off blast beats in more aggressive portions as well.
Salpsan’s vocals are a grimily evil squawk. They’re mixed right in the middle of everything and aren’t hard to hear. I’m usually not one to care about lyrics, but the lyrics here are enjoyable and help me buy into the satanic product that’s being sold. Granted, I can’t understand what the hell is being said half the time (“Tainted is the blood of Avram/ In Sodom dwell the dearest of his kin/ Bestial orgies, carnal rites of flesh/ Primordial lust so satisfied by sin/Tainted is the blood of Avram/ In Sodom dwell the dearest of his kin/ Bestial orgies, carnal rites of flesh/ Primordial lust so satisfied by sin”), but their sinister underpinnings keep me invested throughout the album. Also, some of the lyrics reference the creepy cover art (Demon, dragon, goat, serpent/ Clutch the reigns of blasphemy/ Behold the Vision of the Merkabah!) which is fun.
One big plus on this album’s side is that Spite has a very similar sound to Negative Plane. Negative Plane has been really quiet for going on 8 years now. Given that they’re one of the best modern black metal bands, it is nice to have a band take up the mantle from them in their (hopefully soon to be ended) absence. So if you’ve been looking for something to fill the Negative Plane-shaped hole in your life, look no further!
I don’t really have anything bad to say about the album. It’s not too long, not too short, there’s a lot of variety, and it is engaging throughout. I’ve heard some say that the quality of riffs is inconsistent, being relatively front-loaded, but I would disagree. Generally I find myself enjoying every song front to back without getting bored. This is a solid, relatively unique, and well put-together black metal album in a style that I love and that not many play. Take the reigns of your demon, dragon, goat, serpent, and come along for the ride.