Album Reviews

Antiqva- Funeral Crown (single review)

The new project by the amazingly talented Lindsay Schoolcraft ( Schoolcraft, ex-Cradle of Filth) and the aussie Dark Lord of growls Xenoyr ( Ne Obliviscaris) ANTIQVA is finally ready to unleash a blaze of creatvity upon our tormented (quarantined) souls.

Born from the friendship between Lindsay and Xen during the CoF and NeO tour in 2015, they could not devote the time needed for this project until a few years passed but still they managed to put together a stellar lineup of immensely talented musicians like Justine Ethier on drums from the Canadian band Blackguard, the legendary bass player Memnock from Borknagar, Old Man’s Child, Emperor, Abyssic and Susperia (all excellent bands), Fabian Shaper on guitars from the german band Negator, Dalai Cellai on cello from all sort of projects, and finally the amazing Andy Thomas from the prog death heroes Black Crown Initiate.

Justine Ethier : Drums & Orchestrations
Memnock : Bass & Contrabass
Fabian Schaper : Guitars
Lindsay Schoolcraft : Orchestrations, Piano & Ethereal Vocals
Xenoyr : Harsh Vocals
Dalai Cellai : Cello
Andy Thomas : Clean Vocals & Additional Guitars

The song starts with a Gregorian-like chant but after a couple of minutes of solemnity, Lindsay’s vocals appear along Dalai’s cello giving the feeling of entering the big halls of an ancient church. Shortly after, we have the first tangible proof that this a black metal piece in its core because the guitars enter with the famously tremolo picking style of the genre alongside drums, bass and Xen’s high screaming growls. Dalai’s cello adorns the song with sombre, cadent notes providing the melody to the fairly straightforward the fast tremolo riffs without ever taking over the spotlight from guitars or vocals, as she it will do for the whole. In fact, except for guitars , bass and drums, everybody else and everything else will subtly add one more shade to the sensible palette of performances of the composition since there at least 5 or 6 types of vocals during the song that appear together or solo in different stages. Said stages are mostly separated by pauses or breaks that, far from killing the vibe of the previous stage, serve as a means of introduction for the next one. For example, around the second half of the song, the Gregorian chant returns only to give passage to a beautiful attack of classic blast beats while the guitars move around the minor scales and the cello seasons the instrumental concoction with sad melodies that remind me of the classic sound of the now defunct legends The Sins of Thy Beloved. A glorious combination of the sensible and melodic side of melodic and symphonic black metal with the well known fury and velocity of the genre.

Funeral Crown is a great song that perfectly displays a very sensitive manner of writing a song. The sound could be compared to that of Mgla with the relentless tremolo riffing , a little bit of Ne Obliviscaris in the use of the violin and the counterpoint between Xen’s low growls and Andy’s clean vocals; however, the merging of the different instruments and musicians bring something unique and refreshing in the black metal genre.

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