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Music Review: Antagonist – World in Decline

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Antagonist, the blistering thrashcore quartet from California, has had it up to here with hope. World in Decline, their second release on Prosthetic Records, is a downer if there ever was one.

The message: things are broken and they always will be. The band’s guitarist and vocalist Carlos Garcia has ditched notions of cooperation with the realization that “things will always be fucked up.” World in Decline certainly reflects that notion, driving the rather ominous and depressing point home with a cataclysmic barrage of guitar solos and growling, snarling vocals.

Musically, Antagonist is hard to separate from the expansive realm of similar acts. They do deserve some credit for merging a bit of frozen European metal with the standard metalcore arsenal, but vocalist Garcia is a little too repetitive to clock in uniquely.

I do have to give the band credit for sticking to the premise, however. World in Decline is nothing if not adamant, with hammering drums from Orlando Garcia powering every track with insistent fury. The bloodlust carries through the rest of Antagonist, with Garcia and Roland Leonard proving an admirable double attack on guitar and bassist Nick Reyes delivering the goods as well.

The overall sense of relentless aggression and rage pulses through the album’s ten tracks and nary a moment of joy is to be found. These guys are seriously in the dumpster when it comes to their sense of hope – at least for now.

“People grow older and figure out that life doesn’t get any easier, and that our own selfishness, carelessness and ignorance are at the core of our demise,” Carlos Garcia says of the album’s motivation.

With that core in mind, Antagonist takes on cuts like “The Bane of Existence” and “Wake Up and Smell the Lies” with tortured rage bursting from every seam.

The bloodletting continues with “Sasha Grey,” a vicious track that generated more than a little bit of confusion with lyrics like “Derailed, for sale, the back of your throat impaled.” Nooo idea what he’s on about there, right? The scoop on the song, though, is decidedly less interesting than I had hoped, but the lyrics are still compelling. Could they really have nothing to do with the song’s titular “superstar with a fatal attraction?”

The ferocious bashing carries on with “A Voice Unspoken” and “Darkest Darkness,” the latter of which finally provides a moment of disquieting peace before carrying on with more punishment.

Nothing on World in Decline is particularly revolutionary, sure, but Antagonist has still crafted a damn fine album. They are skilled musicians and their sense of timing is dead-on, making the guitar solos fit snugly in all the right places. With provoking lyrics and a timely concept, the band’s commitment is really what makes this record different and, in this day and age of hollowness and insincerity, that sentiment can go a long way.

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