It’s getting a little bit absurd just how many traditional heavy metal and speed metal bands are coming out of Ontario these days. As long as they keep up the quality, however, this really isn’t a problem. Newcomers Antioch definitely do just that with their first EP, which is a self-titled release featuring 6 tracks of pure, unfiltered heavy metal. Surprisingly, the EP is actually a tale of two sounds. On the one hand, Antioch displays the incredibly high-speed, charged style of speed metal played by fellow countrymen Skull Fist and Axxion. The songs in this vein (“Phantoms of the Sky” and “Leather Demon” being the strongest two) are incredible metal anthems that are driven by the absurd vocals of Nicholas Allaire. This man’s voice knows no bounds. In the aforementioned songs, he spends much of his time screaming his lungs out, not unlike Rob Halford on “Painkiller”. It truly is incredible some of the notes he hits in these songs. The rest of the band likewise takes their cue from that album, offering up scorching speedy licks and a rhythm section that complements this style.
At other times, however, Antioch takes a different approach. Some of these songs (“Inquisition” and “Golden Road”) are of a more epic, stomping heavy metal sound. The former track is practically an ode to bands like Candlemass, with its doom-laden riffs and astounding vocal performance. Although these two sounds provide somewhat of a strange juxtaposition on the EP, they’re both executed so well that there’s no real reason to complain. No matter which approach the band takes, there are always catchy riffs and melodies, as well as a very genuine vocal display.
All of this is without mentioning by far the best song on the EP: “Deathwell”. This song is a fitting end to this release. The chorus of this track redefines what catchy is, and the way it is combined with guitar solos in the outro show the band giving you everything they have. Most of the song has a very feel-good metal to it. The riffs are just so classic and enjoyable that you really can't criticize it in any way. Overall, “Antioch” is a stellar EP. The band is clearly very talented when it comes to writing songs with hooks and memorable sections, and they mix up their sound enough to keep things interesting. While they certainly have a lot of competition in the heavy and speed metal scenes, their material worthy to stand alongside their fellow Canadian bands.
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4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott