27 November 2015

Antigama - The Insolent

Antigama are a band I've not heard much about until this album was recommended to me. At first, I thought it was a techno album on the basis of the band name and the cover. The whole thing reminds me of the kind of techno that would get played on commercial radio after 7pm. Not quite as heavy as the Dutch gabber stuff but not as lightweight as the usual chart fodder. Just enough to create a bit of a rumble and a beat that was groovy enough to dance to. Therefore it was a surprise to hear this was grindcore. Now that genre has a few genres within it also. To be honest, there are too many of them to list here and we'll sharp find out which one of them this band fits into...

The band themselves formed in Poland in 2000 and have been going strong ever since, albeit with various line-up changes along the way. At last check, vocalist is a chap called Lukasz Myszkowski, Sebastian Rokicki plays guitar, drums are handled by Pawel "Paul" Jaroszewics and bass is played by Sebastian Kucharski. Anyhow, onto the album...

Reward Or Punishment - opens up with a blast of white noise then launches into a fucking blast and a half of some old-school grindcore! No time for a break though, we're straight into the next track which is Foul Play. This one rips through you before sounding like it's going to break down into something a bit more mellow based on the drums changing to jazz symbols but...nope, it goes back to tearing it up big style! And before I can go get another drink, we're straight into Data Overload. So far, the songs have been fast, short and to the point, just like grindcore should be. However, you can hear different things too - take next song Used To, it has one of those discordant openings that wouldn't sound out of place on a mid 90's Napalm Death album (90's Napalm still rules so fuck you) as well as an opening structure that sounds a bit off-the-beaten-path but still works. Reminds me also of Brutal Truth (ahh, there is a class band) who ended up doing similar things from 'Need To Control' onwards. Randomize The Algorithm follows up, continuing the relentless assault, opening with a sample lamenting a loss of faith and then going off on another grindcore assault again. Plenty usage of discordant noises and less-than-conventional structures. Certainly beats putting your foot down and racing to the finish like AxCx used to do. Cymbals tapping heralds the arrival of - The Insolent. Things are hectic and despite a lull towards the end, they pick up for a frantic finish. Sentenced To The Void is next and has a touch of mid-paced about it. Sounds like old-school punk, almost. Heavier and faster as fuck though. It's worth pointing out that the production on this album is clean and crisp with no ear candy and no muddy sounds like what can usually come with grindcore. It's perfect, in fact. Out Beyond is next and has the kind of opening which sounds like an atmospheric intro or a concert intro tape. It's fucking great! Electric synth sounds, drum fills and guitar effects. No vocals, completely instrumental. Great song. Normal service is resumed with Eraser, a groove behind this one before going into a thumping chorus. Marches towards oblivion towards the end with an ominous ticking before going into the last song - The Land Of Monotony. Slow opening which drags and argues a case in point for most ironic song title. Actually, I jest - it's very well done. This then segues into a clean break before resuming a crawling heaviness that's really good. This goes on until the crawl then becomes a slower crawl before coming to a halt with an echo.

This is a really good album. Proof that grindcore has a place in the modern world, thanks to the meticulous production job that was laid out on it. Starting off as a typical grindcore format, things start getting different midway through the album. Whether that was a conscious thing or not, I've no idea but it was certainly an attention catcher. This may have been a short blog, but I'm not likely to go into an over-wrought way of describing something when the simplest explanation and way to do it will suffice. As for which grindcore I'd describe the band as? The 'excellent' kind. Get this album.

9 - Almost perfect, Almost...

Chris J.

Top Track: Eraser.

Sadly, this album isn't available on Spotify, but it is available on iTunes and Amazon, I can't even find any videos of them either, other than this Stop The Chaos one...

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