Antemasque – Self Titled – Album Review

antemasque-picThe self titled debut from the newly formed alternative rock group Antemasque comprised of former Mars Volta members Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, as well as guest bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a hard-hitting, energetic, and very entertaining debut album that stands out from their contemporaries, as well as not falling below the shadow of groups before them.  While the album is short, it’s a wild 34 minute ride.

The album begins with it’s lead single, “4AM”, which showcases Lopez’s intricate guitar work, that while not being incredibly flashy, is very technical and suits this straight-forward rock song well.  Zavala’s voice combines the eccentricity of classic heavy metal vocalists with an incredible range, making his voice very distinct.  The song “I Got No Remorse” flies in next, and hits hard right out of the gate with a rumbling guitar riff and fast-paced drums.  The song also features one of the catchier choruses on the album, which is reminiscent of early 2000’s punk music.

“In the Lurch”, the albums chaotic fourth track is another definite standout.  The chemistry of the group is very apparent here, with the guitar melody in the chorus perfectly suiting Zavala’s screeching vocals.  “Momento Mori” is another great song from the album, and while it keeps a similar pace to the tracks the precede it, it’s catchy chorus and spacious breakdown give the album variety.

Variety is a concern on this album, however, as the albums first 6 tracks sound relatively similar to each other.  While they are definitely entertaining, the album gets a tad boring and rather predictable.  The album’s first real departure from it’s established sound is the track “Drown All Your Witches”, which features and acoustic guitar, laid back drums, and synth chords during the chorus.  Zavala’s vocal delivery is drastically different, using a much more gentle inflection.  The chorus features a great atmospheric effect to the vocals, which combined with the gentle pace of the song, give the album a much needed break from the full throttle rock songs that preceded it.

The final three songs of the album sound similar to the first six, and are definitely entertaining, but the feel less interesting after hearing the first half of the album.  That’s not to say that these songs are not worth listening to, as the song “Providence” features a great, heavy guitar riff, and the following track “People Forget” displays the excellent work of the album’s guest drummer David Elitch.  However, the albums conclusion pales in comparison to the high standards set by the first few tracks.

Overall, Antemasque is a fun album that can appeal to fans of both heavy metal and modern alternative rock music.  While the album suffers from a lack of variety, it delivers a solid set of tracks that will not be soon forgotten.

RATING: 7/10

Standout Tracks: “4AM”, “I Got No Remorse”, “Drown All Your Witches”

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