Whoa – somebody threw the best bits of The Mars Volta and At the drive-in into a bag, shook ‘em up and let ‘em out!
The results are interesting. You might be expecting a prog/mathrock marathon, but that is not the case. People who know about such things make up really cool genres such as “prog-punk” which actually might fit the bill for Antemasque.
‘4 AM’ rips from the speakers all clingy, like a pair of skinny jeans. Tight, sharp and angular. Sparse even. Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala is convincing and passionate.
Before I have time to think, the song is over. 2:56 mins of “Powerprog” (I made that one up.) ‘Ride Like the Devil’s Son’ has jangly guitars with a great chorus and choppy chordwork with a neat sharp solo that cuts like ice. Oh yes- the guitar. Omar Rodriguez-López (got to be related to you know who? Editor’s note: No relation.)
There is a controlled virtuosity by Omar Rodriguez-López on display throughout the album. No over the top guitar hero stuff, more a snarling minimalism.
By the time we reach ‘Drown all your Witches’, there is a little touch of Led Zeppelin III but in a good way. Lovely softer guitars and soulful vocals. ‘Providence’ has a darker feel as the album enters the final straights.
The longest tune on the album is 4:48. Antemasque is restrained, economical and full of short sharp shocks. Production wise: crisp, clear and disciplined .
Gets my vote!
Words: Keith How