Review by Jason Guest
With the first two tracks at around the seven-minute mark and the last at five and a half, Antagonist Zero’s dynamic approach to their gothic-tinged doom is impressive. Weaving melancholic melodies around gentle acoustic passages and intricate lead work wrapped around leaden guitar lines, their “catatonic metal” achieves, thankfully, more than such a label suggests. ‘AZ’ opens with a beautifully melancholic guitar melody that slowly evolves until the hammer of doom drops, the dejected and dark vocals enter, and the tracks might rises to its full height, its shadow looming vacuously over the juxtaposed soft, dark and passionate passages that flesh out the seven minutes. The title track picks the pace up, and, though more straightforward in its structure than the opening track, it wields as much weight as its predecessor, letting the band push further beyond the dark parameters of their bleak horizons. Beginning with a vocal that has a warm, folk vibrato, the melancholic melody of the gothic-tinged ‘Fading’ is suspended over a gentle acoustic guitar-line softly punctuated with swelling lead tones before, again, the familiar darkness descends.
What makes this EP successful is the attention to detail. One minor failing, however, is the clean vocals. Though they bear the weight of a dejected world, there are more than a few moments where they work against the tracks, particularly the closing track. A female vocal may have been more appropriate and enhanced the emotive aspect of the gothic element. Flaw aside, this EP’s power is in the instrumentation, the hoarse roar, and the solid structures that fortify the atmospheres that flow beneath the mighty edifices. In a three track EP, it’s atypical to find such musical diversity. This is a debut worth checking out and Antagonist Zero is worth keeping an eye on.
7 out of 10
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- Nighttime Harmony