MaYaN - Antagonise review
|Release date:||January 2014|
01. Descry [bonus]
02. Bloodline Forfeit
03. Burn Your Witches
04. Redemption ~ The Democracy Illusion
05. Paladins Of Deceit ~ National Security Extremism Part 1
06. Lone Wolf
07. Devil In Disguise
09. Human Sacrifice
10. Enemies Of Freedom
11. Capital Punishment
12. Faceless Spies ~ National Security Extremism Part 2
Mark Jansen seemed keen to distance himself from his main band as much as possible with Antagonize. The symphonic arrangements in the new Mayan effort are closely guarded and controlled, which distinguishes the band's sound from Epica further than ever before. While the debut album certainly found its similarities to the mother band, Antagonize is, in theme and sound, much more of a straightforward melodic death metal album.
Despite all of its differences it's also much less interesting. Quarterpast was a case of complexity vs. convolution; complex in its attempt to write death metal more tangibly into Epica song structures. Convoluted for the same reason, as it represented an engaging yet somewhat disjointed sequence of aggressive death metal scattered throughout a melodic and fresh rendition of the symphonic style Jansen was most familiar with. What we find in this new album is remarkably divorced from the style that both Mayan and Epica fans were expecting.
Antagonize is structured more on death metal's terms, and opts for more of the crushing wall of the genre on many occasions, usually managed with melodic twists and turns. The symphonic arrangements aren't only met by equal measures of this death metal, but said death metal becomes the primary element, granting the album obvious rigidity. Solid, in a word. This new album is rigid and cohesive in comparison to the previous release, and perhaps too much so.
Most remarkably the back seated symphonic components don't run flowingly throughout the record, but seem to be brought in to act as a supportive element and something used to create melodic movement in the death metal. The rigid sound I described often comes across as inflexible and monotonous, although it is generally easier to follow than the debut effort. It's only when the symphonic aspect isn't completely overcompensated by the clear focus on death metal guitar work that things flow more readily.
Antagonize is marred by repetitive guitar lines that plod and meander with little variation and pay-off. Sure they may seem strong enough upon immediate delivery, but in the long run the writing here is largely unmemorable, perhaps a few scattered segments and riffs offering anything for recollection.
The primary problem is that this album attempts to retain the operatic and conceptually explorative environment of the debut, yet it stylistically departs from it. Divergent initiatives seem to be at play here, where the thematic focus comes off as second best behind the push for a sound more akin to death metal. This makes Antagonize seem awkward and unsure of its own direction, even if it is competently performed.
Antagonize works best when symphony is aligned more closely with death metal, which is also when it's at its most melodically driven. Otherwise there is a lot of this album which sounds flat, linear and uninspired, even with a new approach in mind.
||Written on 12.04.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.|
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