Antagonist- World in Decline

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, November 22, 2010

When it comes to metalcore, Antagonist has always been one of those bands that I enjoyed but never felt was the best out there. Over the past five years they have continued to grow and experimented with different ideas, each working to varying degrees of success. For their fourth full length album World in Decline Antagonist has gotten rid of some of the clean vocals and melody they focused on in the past in favor of a more thrash oriented approach. While this may seem as though it is going to make the band more generic, this change in sound has actually rejuvenated the instrumentals and as a result this is easily the group’s best effort to date.

In my review of Antagonist’s previous album, I noted that it might benefit them to further explore their melodic metalcore styles. Instead of doing that, the instrumentals decided to head in the completely opposite direction and embrace the heavier side of thrash and metalcore. Surprisingly, this direction works far better than expected as the band now has some great hooks and killer riffs that are distinguishable from track to track. There are still a few times where the songs fall back into the predictable breakdown pattern, but it is clear that the instrumentalists have progressed quite a bit and are trying out some new things. Antagonist is still missing that wow factor that would push them into the upper tier of metalcore bands, but they have gotten a lot better and have written an album that genre fans will be spinning for quite some time to come.

The vocals have followed the same transitions that the instrumentals have gone through, as almost all of the clean styles showcased on Antagonist’s previous material have disappeared. In its place, the growling has been intensified and now has a wider range of pitches than before. While I can’t say that this makes the band any more distinguishable than before, it suits their new direction and because there is more variety it makes the album seem less repetitive than its predecessors. The lyrical content still seems to be a bit stereotypical for the metalcore genre, but I’m willing to overlook that since the vocals have improved quite a bit.

I must admit that I wasn’t expecting that much from World of Decline before I listened to it, due to the fact that Antagonist’s earlier material hadn’t made that strong of an impression on me. But I came away very impressed as these guys have progressed quite a bit. They’re still not my favorite just yet, but they’re on their way up and if they can continue in this direction I think they will become a genre leader rather than a follower.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Prosthetic Records

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