Album Review: Pax Moriendi – Antichrist

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There seem to be a lot of people in this world who view doom metal, or death doom, as a style of music to only listen to when you’re feeling down. If life has jammed its knife in your brain or your heart, soothe the wound with doom. While I can understand the theory, I feel like a style that’s meant to have a funereal aesthetic is only going to make things worse for you in the long run. Personally, I prefer to listen to this style when all is right with my world, and I simply need to slow down and relax for a while. I find doom, and death doom, to be mentally medicinal in its ability to help wash me of anxieties and bring my mind to a peaceful level. Antichrist falls perhaps on neither end of my personal spectrum, and that is not a complaint. In fact, this is an album that energizes me despite its general pace and nature.

Beginning with slow, celestial keyboards, the mood for our journey is set to a tone of deep sorrow. There are plenty of expected trudging riffs, but they are more varied than I’ve heard in most comparable albums of this style. The vocals are so deep they feel like they’re exuding from within the earth’s chasms. In fact, the pacing is right on point to that of lava flowing from a volcano during an eruption. The percussion paces nicely with the music and never overpowers the impact of the other instruments, instead delicately yet confidently articulating the atmosphere. “Forgotten In Nameless Suffering” rounds out with mournful chanting and percussion reminiscent of war drums. We have been introduced to the world of Antichrist, and it’s one worth exploring further.

Pax Moriendi is the very essence of what I understand death doom to be. While my general explanation of the music above may be useful to vaguely describe the elements for the five songs here, each song maintains a unique direction that has its own path. Songs do not blend together, but they do flow together. The riffs are well-written with an authentic feel to them, as if they were written three decades ago. The opening riffs to “Obscurantism” are especially exciting. Throughout the album, atmosphere is emphasized by celestial keyboards, beautiful acoustic guitar passages, and ominous chanting; precisely where it feels appropriate. Interestingly, the riffs at times have a sound that is abstract (perhaps even extraterrestrial). There’s only one other band that comes to my mind with a similar guitar tone – Lymphatic Phlegm. “Screams And Lamentations Drowned” showcases this sound the best during its rather fast opening riffs, further accentuating the deathly side of Antichrist. The ghastly wailing in the midst of “You Will Never See Sun Light” is among my favorite atmosphere captured here, and is pleasantly reminiscent of Akatharta.

Pax Moriendi is denser than the fog among the Transylvanian mountains and heavier than the force of gravity. It has a cavernous sound, while retaining a clear production. It’s melancholic to the point of being romantic, without taking it to the extreme point of damning my mood. That being said, this is an album that you may not understand with the first few listens. It took me a good five listens before the layers started appearing in front of me and I began to truly appreciate what has been created here. Another listen or two and this album became downright infectious – suddenly the riffs were popping into my head at random times. While I’ve been fairly picky about what doom metal I have in my collection, I wouldn’t hesitate to support Antichrist. I know very little about metal from Peru, but this is an album that has put the country on the map for me. If Peruvians are capable of an album this immense, then I’ll bet there is more from the country worth hearing!

Rating – 4.4/5

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