Sunday, August 6, 2017

Antichrist – Sinful Birth

Sweden’s Antichrist made an immediate impact on the thrash world in 2011 with their debut album “Forbidden World”. And though it took 6 years for a follow-up, the band has remained faithful to the sound that brought them praise, as they unleash their new record “Sinful Birth”. This album is everything that modern thrash is not. The band opts for a rough around the edges production, and simplistic riffs. They showcase adequate musicianship, but nothing beyond an early Slayer or Metallica level. In fact, records like “Show No Mercy”, “Hell Awaits”, and “Kill ‘em All” seem to be the primary influence for “Sinful Birth”. Sure, it’s a lot faster, and the vocals are even rougher, but there is no doubt that those early thrash albums are directly responsible for Antichrist’s existence. The album has plenty of those “Show No Mercy” style breakdowns with a simple riff and a pounding quarter note bass drum (see the intro to “The Entity” for one example), and it results in a powerful energy before the rest of the band tears into another set of riffs. 

For as authentic as “Sinful Birth” is, it doesn’t totally hit the mark. This style of thrash rarely features compelling songwriting, instead resulting in a wall of noise that is largely unmemorable. This album is no exception, as many of these tracks go in one ear and out the other. The band gets more experimental on “Chernobyl 1986”, which is a 10-minute instrumental. Though it has some unique usage of dissonance, it fails to maintain its length. Much of the rest of the record consists solely of buzzsaw riffing with some distant yelling atop the messy music. Occasionally, there is something more melodic, but nothing resembling a hook. The closest the band gets is with one of the melodies on "The Black Pharaoh", which is similar to a passage found on Rhapsody of Fire's "Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom" (obviously unintentional and perhaps a slight stretch, but it was a great find nonetheless!).

The end result is that while this album has its moments, its greatest strength is its greatest weakness. The description of the first paragraph likely tells you whether or not you’ll dig this record solely based on this being the antithesis of modern thrash. My feelings towards it are largely the same as the debut: the riffs are there, but it’s not enough. More focused songwriting and better production would do wonders for the band, but that is contrary to their purpose. For that reason, “Sinful Birth” is successful at creating what the band set out to do, but may not appeal to all.

Be sure to check out and like Antichrist on Facebook!

"Savage Mutilations"
"The Entity"
"Burned Beyond Recognition"

Final Rating
3.5/5 or 70%. 

Written by Scott

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