Album: The Insolent
Release Date: 7 May 2015
Record Label: Selfmadegod Records
Buy CD ($10) or digital ($8) or vinyl ($15) or cassette tape ($8) from: Bandcamp
At the end of every year I like to give my album review writers the chance to write about not their favorite album of the year but the one they think was most overlooked and deserving of more attention. The albums don’t have to be from the local scene like most of the reviews on DCHM and the choice is totally up to them. Today is Buzzo Jr’s turn and, well, I’ll let his words do the talking from here.
There was a ton of awesome heavy music that was released this year, but an unfortunate amount of it went rather unnoticed by most people. One of those releases that I felt wasn’t given enough praise this year was The Insolent. The Insolent is the newest full length album from grindcore outfit Antigama; a band that has been delivering punishing tunes ever since the they formed in Warsaw, Poland, at the dawn of the millennium. With their seventh album, Antigama offers up a vicious array of grindcore tracks that that experiment with tempo and technicality.
The Insolent comes roaring straight out of the gate with the one-two punch of the tracks “Reward or Punishment” and “Foul Play,” both of which consist of blisteringly fast blast beats and energetic guitar riffs. Keeping within standard grindcore conventions, these first two tracks are very short; with neither of them breaking the two minute mark. Those who think that they are in for just another standard grindcore album are in for a surprise however, as they will soon realize that as the album progresses, the tracks get longer and more and more experimental. The next two tracks “Data Overload” and “Used To” bring the tempo of the album down slightly with distorted, industrial sounding grooves that are interspersed with sections of the familiar break neck speed found at the start of the record. Some grindcore bands often treat the bass guitar as a secondary instrument or shirks it in the production entirely making it all but inaudible and placing more emphasis to the lead guitar. This isn’t the case on this album however; Sebastian Kucharski’s bass is nice and audible, giving off a strong metallic twang. The flow of the album changes up again with “Randomize the Algorithm”; one of the more technical tracks on the album. The track opens with a brief audio sample from the 1995 supernatural horror film The Prophecy, (a pretty bad film in my not so humble opinion) and soon erupts into a barrage of start/stop riffage, dynamic bass lines, and tortured vocals roaring over it all. Sebastian Rockicki shows off his proficient guitar skills on this track especially; fusing traditional grindcore structures with more complex patterns to create a harsh, atonal sound that seems to take influence from the industrial sounds of Godflesh and the multi-layered, dissonant tunes found in Gorguts’ Obscura album. The title track that soon follows is also jam packed with varying time signatures and corkscrewing riffs. The drumming on The Insolent is fantastic, and the title track provides the best example of Paweł Jaroszewicz’s incredible versatility on the drum kit. In the span of only two minutes, he transitions from hyperspeed blast beats to jazzy, polyrhythmic drum fills; meshing perfectly with the bass and guitar barrage provided by the two Sebastians.
The second half of The Insolent starts with the track “Sentenced to the Void,” a mid paced stomper filled with crunching grooves and thunderous vocals. Lukasz Myszkowski is a force of nature on this track, delivering cataclysmic roars that are soaked in distortion and vocal effects. The experimentation on the record comes out again in “Out Beyond”; a spacey track that makes good use of electronic effects to create an otherworldly atmosphere. The track is almost completely instrumental but for the last few seconds when the sample of a countdown to a launch is heard, perfectly leading into the track “Eraser”; another hyperfast display of technical riffs and vocal terror that slows again near the end to segue into the final track; “The Land of Monotony.” At over seven minutes long, this track is a slow, crushing slab of sludgy riffs and pounding drums. It provides a stark contrast to the balls to the wall speed of the majority of the album, giving a terminal sense of finality. The track at some points seems to be ticking down to its very last moments before coming to a void-like silence after the last echoes of Lukasz’s vocals fade away. There isn’t a single bad track on this album, although people who are looking for a more straightforward grindcore album may be put off by the slower, longer tracks near the end. That being said, if you were ever wondering what it would sound like if you took the spacey experimental style of Voivod and merged it with the balls out fury of Pig Destroyer, look no further than right here.
The Insolent is one of the best releases of 2015; grindcore or otherwise. If you consider yourself a fan of grindcore and experimental music, then give this album a spin and make sure to catch Antigama live if you ever have the opportunity, because I can say from first hand experience that they always put on one hell of a show. Here’s to another year of great underground music!