With more grooves than a tyre wall at Silverstone, 3 Eyes of Time the new album from Finnish harsh progressive metal band Antipope is an intriguing mix of flavours and spices within a weave of eclectic metal influences. Awash with vibrant melodies and pleasing progressive enterprise it is a release which ignites plenty of appetite for the band and whilst not being the best or most original record to step forth over recent months it is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable.
Formed in 2004, the Oulu band have always been aside of most extreme metal bands, essences of black and death metal standing side by side with those of doom, gothic, and industrial metal within a continually evolving landscape of ideas from the band. After numerous EPs and demos Antipope drew the strongest attention with their debut album Desert which was released in 2010 on their own TCM Records. It was followed by the band signing with Violent Journey Records for the follow-up House of Harlot the following year and also this their third full length. Their second album saw the band create an even more groove laden collection of songs which 3 Eyes Of Time pushes further within its rich wealth of shadows and rapacious sound. The new release also sees vocalist Mikko Myllykangas take on bass duties after fellow band founder Santtu Heinilehto left the band in 2012, and leaves an eager wash of satisfaction for its imagination capturing escapades.
Opening song Close makes its introduction with a melodic beckoning of a singular guitar which smacks of The Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams, it is a heavily shadowed lure with bass in tow soon joined by a magnetic sonic tease and the expressive vocals of Myllykangas offering a slight Marilyn Manson feel. Once settled into its place the track wraps emotive arms around the ear whilst the vocalist moves through varied deliveries to bring a pleasing and unpredictable voice to the melodic wash now in charge of the still attention grabbing sinews. It is not a startling encounter but a strong and satisfying beginning to the release which passes over to the excellent Last Chance.
Guitar and bass immediately provoke and niggle the ear with compelling temptation whilst concussive beats begin their offering to the brewing sense of antagonism. What follows is a tempest of demanding but thrilling rhythmic and riff laden hunger lain with potent melodic endeavour and power metal like embraces. Admittedly the song ebbs and flows with the insistent and industrial honed urgency leaving the appetite greedy whilst the gentler flames incites a drop in intensity to the brewing ardour but it all goes to make the song imaginative and enthralling.
The following stroll of electronic and gothic metal fusion The River Standing Still, keeps attention firmly gripped, its heavy shadows and symphonic whispers expressing a temptation which is rich and teasing whilst the solo and melodic invention leaves a healthy desire for more. There is a sense of The New Jacobin Club to the dramatic presence of the song which asks and gets stronger involvement in its narrative whilst the following likes of the Fear Factory/ Type O Negative sounding Burn with riveting rhythms from drummer Tuska E. adding stronger addiction to the thrillingly carved textures from guitarists Juho Rikberg and Antti Karjalainen, the mix of smouldering atmospherics and fiery invention that is Exposure, and A Decomposing Ritual of Absorption all offer variation and refreshing individuality to the album. The last of these three is a prowling and consuming sinew veined cloud of blackened progressiveness and melodic acidity dripping emotive provocation and inciting expression.
With both The Logic of Self-Discovery and closer Guiding Light bringing further potent highlights to the album, the last a brawling insurgence of thrash filtered intimidation with sonic intrigue and melodic magnetism, 3 Eyes Of Time leaves a full stomach of pleasure and invigorating creative energy. It can be argued it also leaves a feeling of a lost opportunity in its wake as throughout there is a feeling that songs could have been pushed into greatness and adventure but it does offer complete enjoyment which is impossible to dismiss.
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