The word “technical” is a frequently used word in the community of extreme metal. It seems to be used most often to describe the rendering of notes (or beats) at high speed and with impressive physical dexterity. But while those skills may be worth admiring for what they are, we all know that technical skill alone does not mean that the music it serves is worth applauding as a work of art. Even when that kind of flash-bang athleticism is employed creatively in songs that follow inventive, non-linear trajectories, it can still leave listeners cold. There is, after all, a lot of impressive mechanical frenzy in a washing machine with a busted counterweight, but your first impulse is to pull the plug as fast as possible.
However, when technical skill goes beyond even top-shelf levels of physical adroitness, when the musicians seem to have such an intuitive and deeply understood feel for their instruments, and when that kind of intimate mastery is joined with imagination, stylistic diversity, and a skill at songcraft that matches the performance techniques, then you get something really special. And that’s what Antlion have achieved with their debut album, The Prescient.