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Antre – Dark Spectrum

Antre
Dark Spectrum
by Max Elias at 27 January 2021, 11:03 PM

Five British guys, a moody intro on the title track, and a fusion of extreme metal subgenres? Who do they think they are, SYLOSIS? Maybe if SYLOSIS’ components included black metal instead of death metal. “Through These Dead Eyes” is incredibly noisy and the production is caked in filth; not so much that the riffs are inaudible, but enough to lend a ‘trve kvlt’ air. The riffs in question, though audible, are not sharp or especially powerful. They plod along, merging with the drums and howling vocals to create a swirling soundscape of decay and angst. The same can be said of “Become the Damned”; even though it starts off heavier and punchier than “Through These Dead Eyes”, it is the same privileging of atmosphere over substance. More melodic parts and counterparts do emerge, however, not reaching the height of a soar but flowing beneath like a current. The tremolo-laden riff following the chorus is an excellent example. And there are hints of a thrash metal influence in the drumming.

There are only a few songs here, but they are all quite long and sometimes inexplicably so. For example, “Mask of the Saviour” is almost seven and a half minutes long, and I cannot see a reason. Save for the drumming and occasional rung note, I can’t pick out any of the individual riffs being played for almost three minutes, whether because of the production or because of the wall of sound instrumentation. It’s true that black metal is heavily about the general feel of the music and less about cutting riffs, but it’s easy to lose interest when it goes uninterrupted too long. Because it’s difficult to track the parts being played, the brief clean interlude in “Mask of the Saviour” feels abrupt structurally, and since it abates in a few seconds anyway, lackluster. ANTRE are also very fond of saving 20 seconds or so (at least) at the end of their songs.  for a fade into silence.

If I were to pick the best song on the EP, it would probably be “Cursed Existence”. It’s the closest the band comes to the style of metal I personally enjoy, with more galloping, vaguely thrashy riffs, and ominous melodies balancing out the tormented screeches of Patrick MacDonald. The clean section, in contrast to on “Mask of the Saviour” both doesn’t feel forced and has some impact, thanks to the addition of a solo on top. And despite being the longest song on the album, “Cursed Existence” flows well. I could do without the 1:30 of ambient noise and piano (what I would call ‘graveyard sounds’) at the end, but this is a part of the band’s style it seems.

I struggled to understand a lot of this EP, but it felt like fairly classic black metal for the most part, which I already knew I wasn’t into. For people who do like the subgenre, this could be worth checking out.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Musicianship: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Through These Dead Eyes
  2. Become the Damned
  3. Mask of the Saviour
  4. Cursed Existence
Lineup:
Dan Oldcorn – Bass
Barry Chadwick – Drums
Chris Marsland – Guitars
Donny Hopkins – Guitars
Patrick MacDonald – Vocals
Record Label: Withered Hand Records
     


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