An Envy of Innocence

Plying an up-tempo, melodic mix of Darkest Hour, God Forbid and Unearth, California’s Antagonist are competent, enjoyable and skilled, but still rather unoriginal.

Though arguably falling under the vast metalcore/American metal umbrella, Antagonist have a healthy does of modern tight, Euro thrash in their sound (sort of if Carnal Forge played metalcore), and deliver it with gusto if you can get past the piecemeal clean vocals and forced deep death metal growls that surface occasionally amid rather nonchalant breakdowns. The thing is, even though this album rips and rollicks admirably, and has enough twiddy solos and introspective injections to keep it varied, the actual nuts and bolts of the record, the riffs, never jump out at me despite their tight delivery.

 The cantering pace of tracks like opener “The Chaos We Breathe”, immediate “Unless”,”Liberation”, vitriolic “Eyes Wide Shut”, “Heal, My Wound” and melodic standout “Valor and Villainy” is broken up by the expected acoustic intro of the chunkier “Despiertate” and epic “Samsara”. The thing is, I’ve heard it before and heard it done better(and far worse mind you).

Antagonist is a pretty solid outfit, with an enjoyable, well produced debut, but far from ground breaking debut that lacks that special ‘it’ factor to make it truly stand out from a very crowded genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 8th, 2006


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