Antares – L’esprit de l’escalier
Antares hail from Leeds/Barnsley, not far from where I grew up until the age of 11, unsullied by such things as hardcore and tech-metal and grindcore. Innocent, boring times.
As far as I can tell this is the band’s first EP and it’s a bruiser: four slices of kickass loud, fast and technical music that occupies that unspecific ground bordered by the three terms I used in the last paragraph. It’s definitely tech, with its stop-start and extremely fast/proficient guitar and bass lines; the vocals are a hoarse roar and the kick drums keep the rhythm wound tighter than a spring. The music is almost demented at times with a dischordant vibe – I’m tempted to use the hated phrase “spazzcore”, even though that implies these guys aren’t totally in control of what they’re doing, because, frankly, this is music to flail and fight to. You know, in a cool way. With your buddies.
The obvious comparisons to make are outfits like the Locust, Headwoundcity, Daughters, maybe Dillinger Escape Plan… maybe even Meshuggah if only because of those ridiculously fast staccato guitars (confession: haven’t listened to Meshuggah in like eight years). Whatever, to my ears these guys stand out well, and this EP keeps hopping back onto my stereo (okay… iTunes and iPod).
There’s also a spacey vibe to them thanks to some ambient electronica occasionally popping up in the background (well, intros/outros). Alongside the super-technical riffs this leads it a bit of a science fictional vibe, which is most true of third track ‘…But I’m Not Sure About the Singularity’. Reading the lyrics reveals the battlecry “the future is a joke”, alongside demands to “bring on the nanotech and bring on my three sea shells” (a Demolition Man reference – awesome). The other songs lyrically focus on the tensions of a dreary, tedious working life and enjoying good times between them; “I’ve never been this thirsty in my entire life”. The last song, ‘The Devil Drives’, concludes the EP nicely with the line “looks like I’m living off tips but I guess I’ll get by just like I always do.”