Though Nostradamus’ masterwork Les Propheties has come under heavy debate concerning the accuracy of his prophecies, there is no denying that, even with the stretch of mistranslation and the intentional vagueness of the original author, there is an eerie coalescence with events taking place nearly 300 years after his death. Within Les Propheties, Nostradamus predicts the coming of three antichrists that would irreversibly change the course of human history. It is widely believed by those that subscribe to the prophetic qualities of Nostradamus that the first of such antichrists in none other than the one-time Emperor of France, Napoléon Bonaparte, drawing uncanny comparisons to his birth in Italy, detailing the death of Napoléon’s son and, subsequently, his wife’s passing in grief, as well as his ascent in the military from soldier to conqueror to Emperor to exile and return to power.
Antichrist Rise To Power starts off with an intro, the aptly-titled “Napoleon’s Sword,” setting the scene amongst the stale, decrepit air of the dead for the tale of the heartless conqueror’s ascent before rolling straight into “Life Escaping Through The Candle’s Smoke.” Departure Chandelier is certainly channeling the energy of necrotic black metal, absolutely nailing the static tones and putrid atmospheres of the original wave of Les Légions Noires. Backed by what will clearly become a signature singular choral synth, the first proper track of the album is a display of mid-tempo, fairly simplistic riffing. The band is not in any sort of rush or attempting to showcase ludicrous skills here, the real point lies in the ambience of the songs, perceived as a whole rather than the sum of their parts. The riffs and synth work play off one another well to create memorable melodies that hint at a certain beauty beneath the shroud of noxious production. This carries over well to “Forever Faithful To The Emperor,” where even the tremolo picking of the main riffs feel like they have room to breathe like an exposed corpse to the devastating air around it. This decomposition breeds a certain type of life to such recordings, adding a touch of (dare I say) hope to the mood. Let us remember that even the most bloodthirsty among we humans feel such emotions, even when their intent is focused on global conquest.
By the time the fourth track, “Catacombs Beneath The Castle Of The Marquis” comes around, it is pretty apparent that Departure Chandelier aren’t going to be deviating much. However, what they do they do well, building upon the foundation of the previous tracks in a way that opens the album up beautifully. The riff change here just clicks and, it should again be stressed, everything just breathes: a welcome touch on any black metal palette with a taste for a raw take on the more lofty and ethereal. This plays well to the album’s midpoint, the eponymous “Departure Chandelier,” signaling the snuffing of the light from Europe in a chain of events that led to the rise of the second antichrist.
Antichrist Rise To Power climaxes on “Re-Establish The Black Rule Of France,” and it becomes clear that Departure Chandelier have only been channeling the power of the past and storing it up for an all-out assault of necromancy for the highlight track of the album, coming at the end of Napoleon’s tenure as the first of the antichrists. The slow pace of the drums couple with the fuzz of the basic riffs and are absolutely elevated by the choral synths to victorious rumination of France’s bloody monarch. This continues to play through to the album’s outro, “Exile On The Jagged Cliffs Of Saint Helena,” which is essentially an organ solo that wraps up the end to the reign of the first antichrist.
Never lost is the grime of distortion and raw edge, despite its clear recording. It is this that adds the grain to the reflections of Napoleon’s reign as Emperor, like watching an old film or viewing a slightly less than ideally restored painting. Antichrist Rise To Power is firmly rooted in the past, both stylistically and in its subject matter, drawing forces of old to the modern times in a devastatingly accurate reflection of both the Old World and the old style of black metal.