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Antioch - Antioch III: Wings and Warlocks Award winner

Antioch III: Wings and Warlocks
by Sean McGuirk at 26 February 2019, 4:46 PM

ANTIOCH, a mighty Power Metal band hailing from Ontario, Canada, won’t blow you away with their speed or chops, but they make up for that with an undeniable spirit that hearkens back to a different era, when bands like OMENGRIM REAPERMANILLA ROADand CLOVEN HOOFamassed a loyal following through charm and an irresistible force of will rather than a plethora of radio hits. Yes, ANTIOCHis very much a throwback band, akin, perhaps, to fellow Canadians, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, with sword and sorcery themes, and a general meta-reverence for Metal echoing through their music.  It’s not important what exactly “Wings of Pterodactyl Fire”truly means, or who exactly is the Warlock, the sell here is the feeling you get when you throw your arms up and squeeze those invisible oranges when vocalist Nick Allairescream-sings “look into the dagger’s eyes!

Can you tell I’m digging this album?  This is ANTIOCH’s third release and second full-length after a self-titled debut EP in 2014 and their first LP, “Antioch II: First Stryke”,the following year.  I’m a bit late on this album, “Antioch III: Wings and Warlocks,”as it was originally released in 2017.  The difference I’m hearing in this versus their previous is a sharp and detailed production that does justice to Alex Dupuis’crunchy riffs and Jordan Rhyno’s chugging bass.  The entire affair is a marked improvement over PartII, as engineer Erik Gurneydoes a fantastic job making each element of the mix shine.

The aforementioned “Wings of Pterodactyl Fire”,is an epic opening battle charge of a song, with some great MAIDEN-style triplets, and an unexpected interlude that takes the song to an almost meditative level as Dupuisplays a heady pentatonic solo over the top.

“Culling of Souls”comes out with a KISS-style glam rock beat that earmarks this as a heavy singalong rocker.  “Forged in Light”follows with the same kind of mid-tempo plod, and is saved by a superb solo section and a neat outro driven by Brendan Rhyno’s double kicks.  “The Stand of Time”slows the proceedings to a doomy crawl, a kind of CIRITH UNGOLstomp that’s punctuated by some truly outlandish-in-a-good-way vocals from Allaire.

Yes, the vocals deserve its own paragraph, as Allairehas a distinct, completely disconnected gargling high-end to his range that is challenging at first listen.  Not unlike Cam Pipes’ over-the-top screams, or Tim “Ripper” Owens’ full-on power falsetto.  I admit — I love this kind of shit — so it’s right up my alley.  Much like KING DIAMOND, the more you are immersed in it, the more it feels right, so by the time “Return of the Warlock”comes on you are all in.  That track, along with “Where the Dagger Lies”,contain some great power moments and terrific choruses.

“Godbreaker”is mid-tempo epic and, as the longest track at just under six minutes, it starts to feel a bit repetitive up until an escalating outro.  Closer “Heavy Fire”is a strict MANOWAR-style True Metal rally cry, the album’s “Hail and Kill”,with a gang chorus refrain of “Hail to fire, hail to rock!

It might be easy for some to not take ANTIOCH seriously,with their distinct throwback sound and an album title like “Wings and Warlocks”,or worse yet, view them as some kind of “joke band” or tribute act.  But if you spend any time with this disc at all, those thoughts will be wiped away. It’s clear to me, at least, that these are young dudes dedicated to a higher cause, and that’s the Spirit, Power and Glory of Heavy Metal.  I think that’s something we can all get behind.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Wings of Pterodactyl Fire
2. Culling of Souls
3. Forged in Light
4. The Stand of Time
5. Return of the Warlock
6. Where the Dagger Lies
7. Godbreaker
8. Heavy Fire
Nick Allaire- Vocals
Alex Dupuis- Guitars
Jordan Rhyno- Bass
Brendan Rhyno- Drums
Record Label: NoSlip Records


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Edited 09 December 2022

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