Antagonist: World in Decline

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Antagonist: World in Decline
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Antagonist: World in Decline
Metalcore
Prosthetic Records
August 17th, 2010
Release length: 41:05
Myspace
Purevolume
Metalcore seems to be a scene that isn’t necessarily dying, but is one that is growing stagnant with few newer bands coming forward, which seems to have been brought on by the invention of Deathcore, and it’s slow downfall due to the style’s leaders leaving it behind. Of course, this is a good thing right now, as there are fewer new bands that are nothing more then stereotypical carbon copies flooding store shelves, and leaving things open for the pioneers of the style to really take advantage of this and put out some solid material. While recent releases have actually been failing due to these established acts venturing into other fields and ideas for their pre-existing sounds, there are still some that bring the overall Hardcore mentality to the Metalcore scene nicely, remaining true to the roots of the style. Antagonist is one of these acts, and with their fourth full-length effort, World in Decline, it’s obvious that this band is here to stay.

The only problem with the sound Antagonist puts out is that it simply isn’t the most original material, as influences from bands like Killswitch Engage, Chimaira and Trivium can be felt in the material, all the way to acts like Deadsoil and the Hardcore attitude from act like A Perfect Murder at times. Of course, this isn’t necessarily reflected in carbon copy music, but mostly through various inspirations and ideas that seem to stem to acts like them. In the end, World in Decline becomes a monster of a release that takes some of the best ideas of the style and puts them together with a somewhat original twist, and just really hammering away at the listener with slight hints of melody backed by well suited screaming vocals that bring that aforementioned Hardcore feel to the music, but for the most part that’s where that presence ends.

World in Decline is heavily geared to Metalcore moreso, as the music is full of Metal hooks and melody that add a little more complexity to the base “core” sound of the music. There’s few breakdowns through the album compared to what some would expect when the term “Metalcore” is thrown around, which actually gives this recording less of a Metalcore feeling and seems to draw more from bands that mix in a Melodic Death or Thrash sound. “Sasha Grey” has a little bit of that Thrash sound in there, but not much to completely overtake the album and send it spiraling into a whole other musical genre with what seems like ques taken from Trivium, but then you have songs like “The Bane of Existence” and “God of Fire” which are just straightforward Metalcore at their best, though the latter isn’t all that strong of a song and seems to go on just a little longer then it should. However, the inclusion of gutterals on some songs through the album really helps make the album stand out as well, such as with “Wake Up and Smell the Lies”, which is a stronger song that has more of a commanding approach then simply bringing in a fast pace with some Metal guitar hooks added in to mix things up a bit.

Really, the only downfall to this release is that the Metal hooks used on some of the tracks really leave the listener expecting some clean singing. Instead, the entire album is nothing but screaming with some gutterals added to break up the repetition of the release. While this isn’t a horrible thing, leaving the release to follow a different formula then a “metal by numbers” pattern, as well as finds the band experimenting through the release, such as with “New Human”, which actually has a Punk feel to the music, there are just moments where the melody just doesn’t match up with the screaming vocals, such as on “The Bane of Existence” and “Sasha Grey”, which leave a slight scar to the listener at the first spin with this album. Of course, “New Human” has a spoken word section, which comes in handy right before the build up to the guitar solo, and shows that the band is capable of pulling off a different vocal approach when necessary.

Other then that, there’s nothing else to really gripe about with the release other then the usual filler-sounding tracks that pop up on some recordings. “God of Fire” actually just comes off a bit bland compared to the other tracks, and also feels rather drawn out in the long run, and even “Wake Up and Smell the Lies” can start to feel a little drawn out as you go through it due to the song’s five minute track length, but there’s still a good amount of material in the track to keep it fresh for a good while and, as stated, is a very commanding track. “A Voice Unspoken” is another song that doesn’t quite come off that strong, feeling a little drawn out, especially during the sound bite the band uses that kind of interrupts the flow of the album and seems to hit out of nowhere. It also just hammers on with the same general pace until that moment, then seems to shift to what could easily be a whole other song, and that change is really the only time the song brings in anything to break up the repetition that was building up, ending with what clearly is meant to be a haunting, emotional closing, but in the end just doesn’t pack any real atmosphere to it and comes off very bland. Of course, “Darkest Darkness” shows off more of the Melodic Death Metal influence in the Metalcore sound, and from start to finish offers a strong experience with good breakdowns, great hooks, and a strong presence from start to finish, making it one of the stand out tracks on the entire release.

In the long run, what you have here on World in Decline is an album that really mixes things up throughout, giving plenty of songs that don’t sound similar to one another, or just one specific idea or style focused on through the recording. The addition of Punk and Hardcore influences, as well as varying ideas woven by many of today’s frontrunners of the Metalcore scene, really make this album sound fresh every time you come to listen to it. Sure there’s a few tracks that sound like they may have been tacked on, or just missed the mark compared to the rest, but there’s plenty of great compositions on here, and really takes advantage of all the positive aspects of the style. If you’re a fan of Metalcore, then this is definitely a release worth checking out when you get a chance, and chances are good it will be a CD that keeps coming back to whatever playback device you use for a good while.

01. The Bane of Existence – 3:47
02. Sasha Grey – 4:00
03. Disguised in White – 3:41
04. God On Fire – 4:26
05. Wake Up and Smell the Lies – 5:08
06. New Human – 4:02
07. A Voice Unspoken – 3:39
08. Already Dead – 2:55
09. Darkest Darkness – 5:16
10. World in Decline – 4:11
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.