Antagonist
Exist

 So, in lieu of the recent All That Remains disappointment, two records have stepped in to fill the commercial American Metal void somewhat; The Fight Within From Better Left Unsaid and the third album from California’s Antagonist. 

I’m by no mean saying Antagonist is a better band than All That Remains, but as far as comparing Overcome to Exist, I’m enjoying Exist a little more (arguably becuase Exist had far less expecations), despite the fact they basically ply the same mix of thrash, hardcore and European melodies with clean and gruff vocals. However, Exist, like Antagonist’s debut, The Envy of Innocence, is more thrash based, far less mainstream and has just as much enjoyable guitar work, because if you can get past Carlos Garcia’s slightly strained clean and screamed vocals (From Autumn to Ashes anyone?), you will definitely enjoy the dual guitars of Garcia and Matt Lopez as they slice and dice with the best of them. 

That being said, the album starts with the rather bland “Bomb Shelter”, a by the numbers scream/sing, verse/chorus metalcore number. However, the killer arpeggio that opens the title track, signals the arrival of the album with an exclamation point, and from there the album delivers a steady helping of typical American metal/metalcore with above average results. There’s lots of solos and thrashing, breakdowns, choruses and requisite ballads (“Failure on Repeat”) but where Overcome was simply watered down and sugar sweet with radio hits, Exist at least retains some of the genre’s more urgent and thrashy underground persona, despite sharing the same overall recipe as their peers and label mates. 

Ultimately though, as much as I enjoyed tracks like “Amnesia Ln.”, “Final Words For an Unknown Friend”, “Angels”, “Marana”, “Immaculate Misconception” and “Awake”, the album is still a by the numbers American metal/metalcore album with a slightly tinny production. Antagonist are still a band that will get  lumped in with second tier bands like The Autumn Offering, Himsa, Diecast, Hell Within and The Agony Scene rather than Unearth, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God and All That Remains (Overcome notwithstanding) . However, Exist certainly has the potential to elevate the band into the next tier.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 9th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Even the cover looks almost exactly like the new All That Remains. They just swapped the mountains with a city and the guy with a crowd. They obviously planned this to be the backup album for everyone let down by Overcome.


  2. Commented by: PizzaClaus

    Great review. When saw that From Autumn to Ashes thing it made me grin. But I didn’t think the dude would sound just like Francis when he sings. With that I still think Too Bad Your Beautiful is a great album.


  3. Commented by: PizzaClaus

    :sigh: *You’re


  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah Too Bad Youre Beautiful is a solid album, but the drummers clean vox make me wince


  5. Commented by: sandwiches

    fata is pure yuck. new unearth is most certainly legit


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