(NCS contributor Austin Weber returns with this review of the sixth studio album by Poland’s Antigama.)
If the metal-as-noise paradigm has any truth to it, grindcore has always pushed that maxim relentlessly, essentially willing you to find something enjoyable within such abrasive sounds. Of course the best grindcore bands have always had a knack for rising above mere raw aggression to take grind to a refined, more delicately controlled state of chaos. As a group, Poland’s Antigama have wisely merged the two schools of thought, which means they do spend time assaulting your ears in noisy fashion, but do it with a more developed manner of songwriting with more structure, which I will dub “grown up grind”. They’ve been on this path since 2002 and over the course of numerous full-lengths and splits they’ve gotten consistently better and more disturbing with each release.
Meteor feels like the work of a band who are smartly aware of the current grind landscape and subtly bringing to their music certain sonic comparisons to the best elements of several top-tier grind bands. They’ve managed to channel the essence of Kevin Sharpe’s (Brutal Truth) deep, barked enunciations as well as having an influence from their death-metal-meets-punk riffs. They also have more than a few toes dipped in the Pig Destroyer school of deathly diverse riffing and complex suffocating drumming, and they tie all this together with a production reminiscent of Mumakil.
The end result is murderous and catchy but with an oddball side to it that is uniquely Antigama. From the very beginning they always had an experimental nature that’s set them apart from the pack. However, they’ve been greatly refining this aspect of their sound for some time, culminating in out-there extremes like “Paganini Meets Barbaplex” and the ambient film score feel of “Black Planet”. the closer off their last record, 2009’s Warning.