It’s not uncommon for bands and labels to re-release older records. It’s less common, but still not unheard-of, for bands to re-record older songs in a way that burnishes their sound or updates them in other ways. Sometimes these things work, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes die-hard fans will grab up re-releases and re-recordings for the sake of having a complete collection, or because they’re so die-hard that they’ll reflexively seize on anything their idols might do, even if the music sounds like a relic of a lost age. For more discerning and less slavish listeners, whether such projects are worth the time (and money) depends on how well the music has held up over the passing years.
The Bay Area band Antagony, who carved their place in the history books of metal over the decade from 1999 to 2009, have embarked on just such a revival project. Older, wiser, and (it must be said) more skilled as performers, the original line-up has come back together again after a decade spent in other projects since Antagony’s disbanding. On their new album Ashes, they’ve re-recorded a selection of tracks that all date back to demos and EPs released from 1998-2000, plus one new song that shares the title of the album. Having listened to the album (which will be released on May 24th), the verdict for this writer isn’t a close call: This is one of those revival projects that is an extravagant success.