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Antietam 1862 - Life, Death Entwined (Self-Released)

By: Mike Sloan

[9/10] What a vicious, monstrous slab of blackened metal this is! Completely under the radar, Antietam 1862 was, until guitarist Robert E. Legion joined the mighty GWAR a few months back as Pustulous Maximus. The press release was, uh, released and thatís when many within the metal world first heard of Antietam 1862. Legionís other main band, Cannibas Corpse, was already a well-known entity, but not this Civil War-inspired American black metal band.

After blowing out my eardrums to this way-too-brief half hour of raging, thrashy chaos, methinks that unless the band folds its hand for whatever reason, thereís no telling how dangerous these dudes can become. Very similar to Goatwhore in that their brand of blackish metal is rooted firmly in thrashier Celtic Frost-esque riffs, Antietam 1862 waste no time in trying to bargain with the listener. They grab you by your throat and force their fiery, war-torn savagery onto you until you submit. Itís that simple.

While Goatwhore has more dynamics and elements that make them easily one of the best bands going today, Antietam 1862 are a step faster and actually more brutal. They have a plethora of catchy, hook-laden riffs throughout each song, but their barbaric delivery is on par with the ruthlessness of 1349 and vintage Angelcorpse.

There are only five songs on Life, Death Entwined and they are like a nonstop tidal wave of blasphemy and death. Unrelenting, unwavering and inexorable is exactly what this hellion is and the sonofabitch is over before you know it.

The US has its fair share of quality black metal bands. Absu is without question the king of the hill (maybe the best black metal band of all time) and Goatwhore are easily among the elite of all metal today. Is Antietam 1862 in the same league as either of the two? Not yet. They arenít as mesmerizing and bewildering as Absu and they arenít as catchy and infectious as Goatwhore. However, this Virginia-based band is very close to entering that realm.

Their Burial Party EP from 2010 was awesome and now with Life, Death Entwined eclipsing that gem in every facet thinkable, thereís simply no telling what will come from Antietam 1862. Though this beast is only five songs, itís an immediate contender for album of the year and closer ďChrist StormĒ is shoulder to shoulder with the most powerful songs of the entire year.

Hopefully Legion will not have to exit Antietam 1862 due to being a full-time member of GWAR - as great as that band is - because Life, Death Entwined is a masterpiece that absolutely, positively cannot be missed.

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