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Antares - "Different Light" (Demo)

Antares - "Different Light" Demo cover image

"Different Light" track listing:

1. Different Light (4:51)
2. Flowing Stream (3:50)
3. Now That The Sky, And The Earth, And the Wind Are Silent (6:09)

Reviewed by on August 14, 2009

"Antares has shown with 'Different Light' that they have an impressive knack for making more extreme metal work well with symphonic and melodic elements."

Once upon a time all those big name symphonic metal bands started off in their mom’s garage, and they probably sent a demo much like “Different Light” out to all the metal magazines. For only a debut three song demo, Antares has show an uncharacteristic amount of diversity and polish in their music. There are flaws to be sure, but the overall experience of “Different Light” is a satisfying one, especially with the promise on the horizon of greater heights yet to come.

Combining black and power metal has become more common in recent years, but it’s still a fairly rare style of music for a band to attempt. Antares pursues the blending of styles with wild abandon. Black metal vocals and menacing guitar segments are alternated with a melodic and frequently larger-than-life sound. A large portion of the vocal delivery is done with clean male singing that brings to mind epic folk tales of heroes performing great deeds in the face of unrelenting adversity. The mixing of genres also gives the band a chance to provide the best elements of both worlds while dropping the most common problems suffered by each. In a leap from standard black metal, the bassist can almost always be heard during the demo’s entire run time.

The title track sets the atmosphere of the album with a sound of constant drizzling rain and intermittent cracks of lightning. As images of dark clouds spreading across the horizon of a windy plain fill the listener’s mind, the keyboards and guitars come in at full force. While the synths are a little overbearing at first, coming off as just slightly too ‘80s oriented, they quickly settle into a steady rhythm that perfectly matches the guitar work. The vocals start off on the growling end and quickly become the feature of the song. They have a unique scratchy sound that is immediately identifiable, and the vocalist’s ever-changing range keeps the throaty rasps relevant and interesting. While they aren’t fully understandable, they are delivered with just enough clarity that large portions of the lyrics can be made out.

“Now That The Sky, And The Earth, And the Wind Are Silent” showcases both the highest and lowest points of Antares’ music. The song mixes acoustic and electric guitar in the opening moments for a stunning effect, before the vocalist gives what is easily his best clean singing on the demo. There’s a startling amount of passion and fervor in that passage, and it continues into the furious outbreak of growls that follow.

It’s not long after that when some of the kinks in the formula that haven’t been worked out yet become apparent. While the blast beats had been mostly left out in the first two songs, they suddenly show up in enough force to more than make up for their previous absence. Unfortunately that’s not a good thing, as they blast away in such a constant and unchanging rate that they become distracting. Rather than pondering the lyrics or enjoying the epic synth work the audience may find themselves wondering when the drums changed from rapid-fire insanity to an endless buzzing drone that just won’t stop. The distraction doesn’t ruin the song, but it definitely makes it less enjoyable than it could have been.

Another minor issue that dogs the demo from time to time is the disparity between the clean vocals and growls. While the vocalist is decent at the singing, he’s far better at the screaming. Obviously no one can expect a consistently perfect delivery of two distinctly different styles, but the difference in quality is large enough to be easily noticeable.

Those few missteps that occur are usually able to be forgiven or overlooked in light of the zeal the band members display in producing their ideal sound. Antares has shown with “Different Light” that they have an impressive knack for making more extreme metal work well with symphonic and melodic elements.

Highs: Epic synth work blends with guitars to give off stunning images of lightning shrouded landscapes.

Lows: Clean singing isn't as good as the growling, the drumming on the final track is distracting.

Bottom line: A promising debut demo that mixes epic elements reminiscient of power metal with the intensity of black metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)