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Antagonist - "World In Decline" (CD)

Antagonist - "World In Decline" CD cover image

"World In Decline" track listing:

1. The Bane of Existence
2. Sasha Grey
3. Disguised In White
4. God On Fire
5. Wake Up And Smell The Lies
6. New Human
7. A Voice Unspoken
8. Already Dead
9. Darkest Darkness
10. World In Decline

Reviewed by on October 8, 2010

"Antagonist is on a mean streak with “World in Decline,” which is an otherwise decent metalcore album."

After three albums of unspectacular metalcore that tread the line between rehash and derivative, Antagonist finally grows up on “World in Decline.” The cheesy clean vocals and soaring melodic choruses have been booted out; instead, there is a new-found anger that came off sounding forced on past albums. There is a steady gloom washed over the songs, compounded by lyrics that ring of dejection and disgust at the human race. The music itself is still geared in a metalcore style, with occasional flourishes of thrash and death sneaking a peek like a teenager with a Playboy.

The guitar work is still the standout like it was on 2008’s “Exist,” though not for the same reason. The flashy solos that bordered on reckless have been reigned in, though the lead work has plenty of jaw-dropping moments. This is an album built on riffs and tight melodies that have a degree of catchiness that doesn’t descend into eye-rolling territory. The wicked shredding of “Sasha Grey” and the masterful suspense built up on the awkwardly-titled “Darkest Darkness” keep the album interesting, even when bland breakdowns and predictable songwriting come into view.

There aren’t any down-right awful tracks on “World in Decline,” though there is one glaring issue that can’t be overlooked. Most bands use the opening song to make a statement or start things off with a bang, gripping onto the listener’s ears like a dog with a bone. Apparently, Antagonist didn’t get the memo, as “The Bane of Existence” is a terrible way to kick off the album. It’s a mid-tempo bore with a lifeless pace that doesn’t do the band any favors. Thankfully, “Sasha Grey” and “Disguised In White” pick the momentum up to an acceptable level. The album settles into place after that, never stumbling as bad again as “The Bane of Existence.”

Some variety is included with the Metallica-inspired “Already Dead” and lengthy “Wake Up and Smell The Lies.” However, once the second half gets going, the band has thrown every idea out. Metalcore can be a tough genre to stand out in and Antagonist does little to bring anything noteworthy across. While Antagonist does everything that a good metalcore band is supposed to do, they don’t do enough to truly make waves on their own merit. Credit has to be given to the decision by vocalist/guitarist Carlos Garcia to drop the cliché clean tone for harsh screams and death growls. He does much better with the former than the latter, though the growls are used sparingly enough to avoid distraction.

Antagonist is on a mean streak with “World in Decline,” which is an otherwise decent metalcore album. Fans may be discouraged by the lack of melodic vocals, but the band comes out sounding rejuvenated because of that move. Much of the album suffers from the standard flaws that the genre is known for, mainly the mediocre breakdowns and tendency to stick to conventional trappings. Still, there are enough worthwhile tunes to avoid the bargain bin alongside the countless clones.

Highs: Reinvigorated with aggression, killer guitar work, Carlos Garcia's harsh screams

Lows: Trapped under the conventions of the genre, some may be turned off by lack of clean vocals, bland breakdowns

Bottom line: An angry metalcore album that is lethal, yet lacking in the innovation department.

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)