posted on 12/2008 By:
With its salad days long gone and the initial wave of bands (KSE, Unearth, All That Remains etc.) now into their third or fourth albums, it’s interesting to stand back and see what new acts are stepping forward to take up the metalcore mantle. The last time I was genuinely excited by a younger band was a couple of years ago when War of Ages released their excellent sophomore Pride of the Wicked, and Antagonist have hit a similar soft spot in my heart with their latest Exist. There’s really nothing new on offer here, and the staples of the genre (melodic death riffs, Maiden-esque harmonies, catchy vocal refrains and high-energy breakdowns) are in abundance yet again. Antagonist may well be nothing more than a metalcore act, but they play the style passionately and they play it well.
Just about every song on Exist provides a better-than-average serve of driving, melodic metalcore that actually incorporates a number of styles with cohesion and finesse. Personally I can’t go past the title track which starts out like Unearth butting heads with Pantera, before shifting gears with a strong sung passage and spin-kicking its way back with a furious, discordant breakdown. The guitar work on Exist stands out as being more textured than your average metalcore album, with strong emphasis on solos and some well-placed moments of clean/acoustic guitar. Antagonist are pretty forthright in their embracing of more commercial elements (especially on the almost ballad-like “Failure on Repeat”), but they pull it off in such a way that it never feels totally incongruent with their core heaviness.
Exist features a late surprise with the old school hardcore kick of “Angels,” before coming to a satisfying close with the sweeping, cathartic “So Let It Rain”. It rounds off a solid metalcore album of considerable depth and quality. While the softer aspects of Antagonist may put people off checking them out, I can assure you they have ample stocks in the speed and intensity departments. If you’re still proud to call yourself a fan of this much maligned genre (and I certainly am), this should be an easy sell, as Exist sits quite comfortably among the better metalcore offerings this year.
Register to post comments.