Antithesis - Dying For Life

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Nightmare Records
Catalog Number: NMR-99742
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:06:00

While on a first listen or two, Antithesis appear to be just another power metal band, more studied and careful listening reveals that there is a great deal going on beneath the chaotic nature of their music. LarryD surmised much the same thing in his review of this title a few months back. Antithesis takes the familiar crunch of Metallica and the like and adds more dynamic shifts, creating something heavy, brutal, yet textured. Through in some growly vocals, but not too growly, and a darker element is achieved. Well, one look at the cover art - scavenging vultures feeding on a corpse amidst a scattering of skeletal remains, the ground beneath reddened by blood - suggests that this is not metal in the 80s Winger/Warrant/Motley Crue mode.

A track like "Deceiver Within" is a good example of these varying dynamics, as it is a very arty sounding metal track. Rhythms shift in stuttering, chopping patterns, trying turn over themselves. Metallica will come to mind during the chorus of this piece, which sounds as if they'll break into "Sad But True." In fact, the concept is the same - that darker inner self. However, while the cover might suggest something along the lines of Cannibal Corpse, etc. (at least topically), there are no songs of dismemberment and mayhem. The cover is metaphorical, and given the religious underpinning to many of the band's lyrics (mainly Cook), there's likely to be some Biblical reference in there, too. This religious element isn't shoved down your throat, it's quite subtle ... where as I find many bands with a specific religious intent are too sweet with arrangements, too positive in their approach that it seems pollyannaish, Antithesis are quite different. This isn't sweet at all, and makes their message all the more real -- though, as you might have guessed, I'm not in total agreement with their philosophy. But the underlying message of the album - that suicide isn't the solution - I can agree with. While it is present in nearly every track to some degree, it comes most to the fore in "Times Of Trial" and "Dying For Life (Limbo II)." In the latter, the message being, essentially, that as much as you are haunted by your "demons" in life (depression, despair, etc.), it will only get worse after your death by your own hand -- as you will be turned away by God, condemned... One gets the feeling that the lyricist of "Time Of Trail," Paul Kostyack (drums), lost his brother to suicide... after having lost him to something else -- drugs one would imagine ("Distanced")

Of the band's two guitarists - Sean Perry and Paul Konjicija - it is Perry whose playing is the highlight of this release. Vocalist Ty Cook is a very capable singer and James Lewis a more than adequate bassist (his highlight is during "Distanced"). "Times Of Trial" is the uncharacteristic track here, as the guitar intro could easily be an acoustic Steve Howe intro to a Yes song; sparse percussion comes in, then Cook on vocals. This pastoral segment gives way to chugging metal, this played deftly and with sensitivity. This is where the progressive aspect comes into play for this progressive power metal band, as there are shades of Dream Theater here, if at times a little crunchier. Cook's performance is a little understated though a little more energy in the delivery is warranted. Konjicija gets the solo spot on this track. While I prefer Perry, both a very skilled guitarists, and Konjicija's solo here is quite good. What could be treacly, comes across very well. "Mad Poet" is an interesting track lyrically, filled with references to figures from Greek and Norse mythology. One hears echoes of Metallica in "Politicide" as well, especially during the choruses.

The listed bonus track on the US version is "Netherworld," which appeared on their first, self-titled 1999 release. The European version contains the bonus track "Secret Fires," which also appeared on their first album. But this track also appears, uncredited, on the US version as part of track 9. This is a terrific, mellower -- and romantic -- track, mainly just appregioed guitar and voice. Although it might merely detail a "one night stand" rather that the beginning of some long-term relationship, for the duration of this track, one could believe otherwise. -- it's all about the moment.

Antithesis are a band that certainly deserve greater recognition and it's nice to see a power metal band take influence from their more well-known sources and then build upon it, stretching it, mixing it up. Too often bands stop at the "influenced by" and never get beyond it. Bravo to Antithesis.

Also released by Massacre Records in Europe (MAS CD0302); includes alternate track listing and the bonus track "Secret Fires" (3:41).

Soul Of Ice (5:36) / Consequences (5:15) / Deceiver Within (4:51) / Distanced (6:11) / Times Of Trial (8:27) / Mad Poet (6:22) / Politicide (7:38) / Dying For Life (Limbo Pt 2) (9:12) / Netherworld [US Bonus track] (4:44)

Ty Cook - vocals
Sean Perry - guitars, vocals
Paul Konjicija - guitars, synth
James Lewis - bass
Paul "Krusty" Kostyack - drums

Antithesis (1999)
Dying For Life (2001)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 935
Language: english


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