Release Date: 29th May 2020
Record Label: Holy Roar
For Fans Of: 65daysofstatic, Russian Circles, FarCry: Blood Dragon
Antethic’s latest album provides a selection of firsts – not only is it the Russian band’s first international release, but it is the first exclusively electronic offering from Holy Roar, known for their selection of hardcore/post rock/all things heavy. Crafting atmospheric and spacious textures, the band’s sound is not dissimilar to many of the bands found on Holy Roar’s roster – just don’t be surprised if you see more keyboards on stage than you’re used to at their shows.
Mythographer is the third full length from Antethic, and is also the first record the band have utilised only electronic instruments (either that or guitars heavily manipulated beyond all recognition). Drawing parallels to synth driven film scores more so than post-rock and the likes (think Vangelis on Blade Runner), Mythographer is a world away from where the instrumental band started. While previous albums demonstrated the atmospheric approach to songwriting, the instrumentation relied on guitars, and featured acoustic drums in an altogether more conventional post-rock setting. A fair amount of electronic sounds were present throughout, but nothing compared to the exclusivity found on their latest album.
With all tracks exceeding six minutes, the three-piece focus on building up textures and layering their tracks, with sounds and tones that would have been unavailable when using their former instrumentation. Shimmering, ethereal chords, underscored with heavy, distorted bass pulses open the record with ‘I Glow’, the track arguably doesn’t begin until well past the two minute mark. Once in full swing, the music is reminiscent of the recent trend of electronic film scores (Drive, Cold In July, It Follows), albeit supported by a driving rhythm rather than a solely spacious soundscape. Second track and first single ‘Frontier’ opens with what must surely be a nod to THX, transitioning into one of the more dance-worthy moments of the record.
Due to the electronic instruments, and the frequent usage of harsh synth tones, it wouldn’t be amiss to categorise Mythographer as an industrial record. However, the coldness and bleak nature often associated with the genre isn’t present on Antethic’s album, as they manage to utilise abrasive elements in a way that expresses warmth and a generally more positive vibe. When the band aren’t focused on retaining their post-rock origins, the songs take on a more upbeat nature, providing uplifting rhythms that will surely get crowds moving.
Despite these flourishes of energy found in what is advertised as a post-rock record, there are times where it feels the tracks are meandering. As is the risk with atmospheric music, it is easy to fall into the trap of building crescendos and dying down. There isn’t much cohesion between the tracks, and with all of them running at over six minutes each, the record occasionally feels repetitive, and drags towards the tail end. Whereas other, more seasoned electronic artists can create an album that flows more naturally (would it be unfair to compare Antethic to Aphex Twin?), the pitfalls of a band switching up instrumentation is often apparent on Mythographer. Still, this could be considered teething problems, and something that will be ironed out on future works.
Yes we may not have witnessed the birth of the next Kid A, but Antethic’s third album is incredibly admirable. By taking on a genre synonymous with guitars and using synthesizers in its place, the trio have subverted the often formulaic songwriting of post rock and provided a breath of fresh air. Let’s see what album number 4 provides.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Frontier’, ‘Haoma’
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