Antagonist A.D – Through Fire All Things Are Renewed (Album Review)

Antagonist A.D –Through Fire All Things Are Renewed
Released: June 3, 2022

Line-up:

Sam Crocker // Vocals
Matt Livingstone // Guitar
Luke Manson // Bass
Jai Morrow // Drums
Kevin Cameron // Guitar

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New Zealand turned Melbourne based hardcore group, Antagonist A.D are on their way to becoming veterans in the game, having created the path in which most, if not all upcoming hardcore acts follow on their road to success. Their recent appearances at festivals such as Knight and Day and Full Tilt has left us hanging for more. Their new cleverly marketed album is the culmination of two individual EPs that are already released titled ‘Through Fire’ and ‘All Things’. The final installment, which brings the entire album together is ‘Are Renewed’

Kicking things off with a hauntingly chilling guitar riff is ‘Gates of Hell’, this song is reminiscent of the band’s earlier material. The repetition of lyrics “What does it take to wake you up? Millions of lives lost isn’t enough” carries strong energy which takes us to the breakdown. It’s a lot to take in so early on in the album, but don’t let that deter you! Kicking off from where the last track ended, ‘Pure Fear’ keeps the energy high with its tight riffs and two-step drum beats. Touching on mental health issues with lyrics like “Hate, shame, regret // Anxiety’s a demon you can’t forget”, the subject matter is sensitive but finishes on a positive note as “I will be king again” is repeated throughout the breakdown.

The next track titled, ‘The System Is Racist and Oppressive’ is a personal favourite of mine due to the shockingly blunt and honest lyrics like opening lines, “The schools aren’t safe // Prejudice is ingrained // It’s violence // It’s aggressive” as well as “There’s no place for hate”. Sam Crocker intricately changes his vocal style throughout the track for a stronger delivery, ranging from his usual hardcore highs to an almost deathcore low. The fast-paced tempo is the sort of thing that fuels violent mosh pits, which after all is what this band are renowned for. During a sense of darkness, A distorted female voice is introduced during the song’s outro and gives the following commands “Use sharp knives to remove the heads of domestic abusers and sexual predators // Razor blades will be supplied to take the tongues from racists”. A classic blend of modern hardcore with old school values is what defines ‘Blade of truth’. Opening lyrics “You can’t see this misery // So don’t justify it to me” create chaos with the fast, intricate riffs that follow. Massive sounding drums run the gauntlet on this one. Definitely one that is not to be skipped. 

The latest single to be released, ‘Angels At Your Feet, Devils In Your Head’  is some of this band’s finer pieces of work. the change in guitar riffs that flows effortlessly with a drum rhythm that is seemingly flawless. Just like at the end of ‘The System Is Racist and Oppressive’, the haunting female voice returns with more wisdom as she says “Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth // sooner or later that debt is paid.” ‘Time Waits For No Ones” continues with that ever so impressive drumming, a serious well done and a crisp high-five is deserving for Jai Morrow. Starting with a guitar riff that screams ‘classic Antag‘, the guitar work is also nothing short of sensational, the way the guitar repetitively squeals in this song instantly gives me the ‘stank face’ out of impressiveness. 

‘Bloom’ maintains its thrashy pace which gives me the burning desire to stage dive but that’ll have to wait. High pitch harmonics take this one out with the lyrics “The flower blooms just to wither and die” being venomously spat out over the top by Crocker. Keeping things aggressive ‘A.P.M.D’ and ‘No Justice’ come in smoking hot. The band hammers through these two tracks with some serious intensity and maintains that tempo throughout. An extremely mosh-inducing riff is what makes these songs out as I try to compose myself after enduring the chaotic nature of these songs. 

The first single of this LP that hasn’t been released yet is ‘Motherland’ and it is a belter. Screeching guitars take us through to the circle pit-inducing chorus, right through to the violent moshpit affecting breakdown. Beginning with chugging guitars ‘Coward’ takes us somewhere else. This track seems to hold more of a metalcore influence throughout the chorus while still managing to stay true to the band’s hardcore roots throughout the verse. Crocker’s high pitched vocals are complimented well by the band’s exploration in sound. Taking out the album is ‘Ten of Swords ft. Matt Honeycutt’ and ‘Through Fire’ which leaves things on a rather brutal note. To be described in a sentence, I’d say it’s an assault on the senses… much like 90% of this album.

Despite fans having already heard 70 percent of this album already, the new songs shouldn’t be disregarded. They hold just as much weight as the rest of the tracks on this album. However, if you were hoping that this is the release that the band does something drastically different, unfortunately this isn’t the album for that.

Antagonist A.D –  Through Fire All Things Are Renewed tracklisting:

1. Gates Of Hell
2. Pure Fear
3. The System Is Racist And Oppressive
4. Blade Of Truth
5. Angels At Your Feet, Devils In Your Head
6. Time Waits For No Ones
7. Bloom
8. A.P.M.D
9. No Justice
10. Motherland
11. Coward
12. Ten Of Swords
13. Through Fire

Rating: 8/10
Through Fire All Things Are Renewed is out tomorrow via Greyscale Records. Grab it here
Review by Adam Rice

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About Adam 'Ricey' Rice (83 Articles)
A young music enthusiast who dives into a world created by an artist then returns to reality to express what he experienced in writing.