Released: 2001, Nightmare Records
Forget what you think you know about the usually deserving stereotypes found in Christian metal. Cleveland, Ohio’s Antithesis use none of the cheesy lyrics about “praising the lord” or other superficial themes. Antitheses come from a place of positive messages concerning such things as the upholding of morals, personal (and spiritual) growth and socio-political commentary. If you are not interested in the band’s messages then don’t worry, there is substance to this band beyond their lyrics. The band does not even refer to them as this style of music, they are just five guys who happen to be Christians and play heavy metal.
The album cover art does not betray the style of metal found within. If I had to guess what these guys were about from the album cover I would of thought it was death metal (without the insanely hard to read band logo – ha!). Musically Antithesis do not play within the confines of one style of metal. The band covers ground from power metal to thrash metal along with many progressive touches. Bands that I can hear as being an influence include Death (for the guitars) mixed with power and progressive elements from bands like Racer X, Watchtower and Symphony X. As you can tell by the bands style and influences, this hints at a high level of musicianship and they deliver on that front. The guitar playing from the rhythms to the leads are very advanced. The drums are also another highlight – plenty of double kicks can be found on many songs. The vocals are clean and powerful but not sung overly high. The only slight criticism I can make is in the song-writing department. Not a lot of the songs are the type that is written with big hooks or catchy memorable choruses. Perhaps this is a result of their musical style, which is fairly technical and complex, requiring more then a handful of listens for it to being sticking in your mind. “Soul of Ice” opens the CD and like many album openers they chose one of the more upbeat faster tracks to grab your attention. “Times of Trial” contains an amazing solo with lots of sweeps with some interesting time changes. The solo begins with the drums and guitar basically playing alone. “Politicide” begins with a short but very cool bass solo by bassist James Lewis. As you might guess by the title this is a song with a message about politics and the corruption within. This song is like many of the others on here – very technical…but near the end the song almost turns into death metal! It kind of stood out when even the vocals turned into growls! The album’s title track again has some riffing on it that reminded me of stuff from Death’s HUMAN / INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS style. The CD ends with the US bonus track “Netherworld.” This one has the “Painkiller” styled drum intro. The vocal melody on this one also caught my ear. The riffing and solos on this one are all killer!! One of the better tracks on here for sure, strange why it is therefore listed as a bonus track!
From what I remember of hearing Antithesis’ first album, this one is light years ahead of it in all aspects. If you like technical prog/power metal then do yourself a favor and look up Antithesis. More information on the band can be found at their official website at http://www.antithesismusic.com.
You can order the CD from http://www.nightmare-records.com.
The album was released on April 3rd for North America. Watch for the European release later this summer on Massacre records.