The Bronx Casket Co.: AntiHero

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The Bronx Casket Co.: AntiHero
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The Bronx Casket Company: AntiHero
Atmospheric Gothic Metal
eOne Records
January 25th, 2011
Release length: 1:01:37
Website
The Bronx Casket Company formed in 1998, and since then has remained a very underrated act in the Metal world. Formed in 1998, the band is a slight supergroup at this point, featuring Carlos “D.D.” Verni of Overkill fame on bass and vocals, as well as Jack Frost of Savatage, Seven Witches, and many more on guitar. The band seems to treat this as exactly what it is: A side project that “D.D.” had started. But, for a side project, their releases have always been quite enjoyable and, until their third full-length, Hellectric, come out at a consistant pace. However, it’s been six years since Hellectric, and The Bronx Casket Company finally brings us their fourth full-length, and it’s heavier and catchier then ever before.

The music for AntiHero comes off a little lighter then normal in the same of fury vs. a more commercial sound. The guitars on here retain the band’s heavy sound, but the approach has a more mainstream feel to it at times, coming off like a mixture of Hard Rock and Thrash ideas coupled with a more traditional Gothic Rock sound. It’s a nice mixture for the whole Gothic approach the band uses, and the additional keyboard elements that pop up continue to make the Atmospheric quality of the music, though sometimes it’s only a few random keys, or like “You Look Like Hell” which boasts a stronger keyboard presence and really pushes the music along. There are also samples utilized on some songs that bring in a more Industrial atmosphere to some songs, but still retain the proper vibe of darkness that surrounds this album. Aside that, the vocals for the recording are typically clean and feel a little more laid back then anything, though sometimes there’s a little added bite to them through some songs, such as near the end of “Bonesaw”.

While the music may be a little lighter then what some would expect considering the band’s earlier material, the guitar makes up for it, as mentioned above, but many of the songs are also very catchy and, when the speed picks up, it all works out perfectly. While “Sally” is a slower paced track that takes the music into the general Gothic path that bands like The Cure have laid out, but bringing a much heavier feeling to the music through the atmosphere and the sound of the guitars and well pitched bass, tracks like “You Look Like Hell” truly steal the show with it’s more technical sound and rather non-stop feel to them that just make the song catchy and addictive, as well as make it one of the better tracks on the recording. But, while the faster tracks on this release really shine through, the odd sounding “Death On Two Legs” really becomes the centerpiece of the album. This odd sounding track takes the Gothic sound the band emits, but at the same time takes it into a more dark musical direction, like something one would expect from some kind of off-Broadway play. The keyboards are fantastic and give it a twisted Phantom of the Opera vibe to it, and the vocals are performed perfectly with it to enhance the atmosphere while the drums take the song into a rather Progressive realm, varying between matching and clashing to make the song truly stand out.

There honestly is nothing wrong with this album. The music is completely enjoyable from start to finish, and while it feels a little more accessible then many Gothic Metal acts that focus on atmosphere, the songs are all solid and often quite catchy. The only thing that one can live without is the closing song, “My Way”. While it’s an interesting take on the song by Ol’ Blue Eyes, Mr. Frank Sinatra, and is far from any sort of insult to such a legendary singer, this version takes The Bronx Casket Company out of the whole Gothic Rock/Metal feel they set up with each song, some a little stronger then others, and takes on a more Punk/Hardcore approach to it. The song also feels rather bland against the vocal style that exists on this release. While the vocals work for the music the band creates throughout the album, often having a little more bite to it and comes off a little more stern then just a traditional clean singing, all the while feeling a little more laid back then normal, this track introduces a more Punk influenced style by being a little more high pitched and generic to the style through a more nasal approach at times. Sadly, it just ends up hurting the track in the long run and, while it doesn’t necessarily hurt the album as it, in a sense, works well as an outro song, it just makes the listener wish the band had done it more along the Gothic approach the band utilized on AntiHero, and not this more Punk/Hardcore sound. Outside of that, the vocals don’t offer up much variety through the album, and after a while some songs can feel a little flat past the first listen, but not enough that you’ll lose enough interest to stop listening all together.

Antihero took six years to finally see the light of day, providing The Bronx Casket Company really is nothing more then a sideproject, but it really doesn’t sound it. This is a very tight album that is enjoyable from start to just about the end, being one song away from a flawless album. For those who think that the long period between this and the band’s last album may have hurt them will find themselves very wrong, as AntiHero proves to be well worth the six year wait, and really sounds like the type of album you’d expect to hear from a top notch full-fledged band and not a part-time act’s release. If you’ve enjoyed The Bronx Casket Company before, then there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about here. AntiHero will rock you hard and be stuck in your head with it’s catchy tunes, lodging itself in your stereo for a good time to come.

01. Antihero – 3:53
02. Bonesaw – 4:40
03. You Look Like Hell – 4:03
04. Sally – 4:22
05. I Never Loved You Anyway – 4:00
06. Holy Mother – 6:13
07. I Am No One – 4:29
08. Memphis Scarecrow – 5:18
09. Selling My Soul – 4:13
10. Death On Two Legs – 3:26
11. Let Me Be Your Nightmare – 4;07
12. NYC (Devil’s Playground) – 4:27
13. Alive! – 4:28
14. My Way – 3:58
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by eOne Records.