05. Not True
08. Preachers Pray
09. Sequenzia Dellamorte
10. You Have the Right to Remain Violent
11. Lost Skull
13. Paganini Meets Barbapapex
14. Empty Room
15. Orange Pills
16. Black Planet
2009 Relapse Records
Chunky. Technical. Riffage. These 3 words best describe the newest Antigama release to hit store shelves via Relapse Records this spring. Antigama's Warning is both a blast into the future of grindcore's sound and a foray into the past of extreme music as it manages to mine the roots of Polish death metal for some unexpected but memorable moments. This doesn't mean we are dealing with a "deathcore" band here as Antigama manage to keep the controls aimed for the heart of grind as usual, utilizing a pulverizing death metal riff only when appropriate and it feels absolutely in place. Fans of Origin or Nasum will surely find something to love about this record as it smoothly shifts between grooving grind and slamming death riffs.
Having said this, the album starts off with some pretty unexpected abstract electronic bleeps and whirling noises. The same track explodes into a quick grind blast and then is over before you know it and perhaps because of this strange construction the first song really doesn't stand out for me. It almost feels like the album doesn't begin until the opening chords of "Jealousy". Warning then continues along its path of total annihilation as it dives headfirst into some intense bursts of rage fueled mayhem with the one-two combo of "City" and "Another," which introduce slightly more technical playing and more complex song structures.
The songs on Warning flow together almost seamlessly, like the band was trying to put together a concept album for the grind world. Strange drum sounds are sprinkled everywhere on this album and they seem to first appear during the track "Another," which employs the use of some obscure drum tones. It works for this track, but when they pop up later on during the record these experimental drums just seem out of place, forced and mixed too prominently. The mix of this record is a strong point at times, but also manages to become an obstacle at others. Although the recording is full and powerful, the obtuse sounding drum parts are accentuated, which is bizarre because Antigama's last effort was noted for its great drum sound. The balance of the drum sounds on Warning seems really on tracks like "Heartbeat" and "Lost Skull," the latter being a standout track otherwise. This might be due to the fact that original vocalist Lukasz left the band before this record came together and has since been replaced by the lyrically competent, if not generic sounding new frontman Patryk. Interestingly enough, it's worth noting that Lukasz is the man behind the electronic interludes speckling the album.
Again after a few blazing grind tracks you will find yourself floating in a buzzing and humming electronic world. These calming ambient moments (sometimes layered with jazz guitar and live drums) that are snuck between the more abrasive moments also help bind this record together, hinting that a "concept record" may indeed have been in mind. The mellow additions to the brutal parts of the album also give the listener some breathing room. It's also nice to end such a wild ride on a calmer note, even if it will most likely get missed by the majority of people not willing to sit through the static and blips for 7 minutes.
Bottom Line: The members of Antigama are clearly up to the task of playing these songs, however, the songwriting just needs a little more work. With a little fine tuning Warning could have been a candidate for grind album of the year, but due to some strange and adventurous choices in the mixing room, redundant vocals and the need to polish their writing skills, this album falls slightly short of the hype. Hopefully the band can come away a stronger unit from the experience and next time try to make a record that is just as fierce and creative but devoid of the experimental schizophrenia.