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Antagonist Zero - No Tears [EP] (2015) - Review

Band: Antagonist Zero
Album title: No Tears [EP]
Release date: 14 August 2015
Label: Inverse Records

01. No Tears
02. Profound Oblivion
03. Suru
04. Missä Muruseni On (Jenni Vartiainen cover)
05. The Lachrymal Sleep (Doom:VS cover)

Finnish combo Antagonist Zero is back with a new EP or better said a proper mini album entitled No Tears. The band which was formed in 2010 released since then one EP, Nighttime Harmony, and the debut album entitled Doomed, both in 2012. With No Tears Antagonist Zero follows the path of their previous releases and don't really bring anything new with those five tracks, but still in a way there's a slight step forward in their output which they named it catatonic metal. You might wonder for what does the label "catatonic metal" stands for, and to tell you the truth you'll hear nothing else but a new mixture of some atmospheric doom metal, post-metal and melodic death metal, with some insertions that are near to black and gothic metal. Antagonist Zero is a band that could find their devoted fans amongst those who like bands such as Katatonia, Draconian, Opeth, Tiamat, early Anathema, Paradise Lost,... and you know what, I'm pretty much demanding when it comes to the genre of this kind.

No Tears brings five tracks and quite a decent lenght of music exceeding 35 minutes. There are three new original tracks and two covers, one is of Doom:VS and another of Finnish pop queen Jenni Vartiainen. There's quite a lot of diversity between the tracks, on one side you have powerful atmospheric groovers nicely blended with slow crushing doom lines and on another there are also some minor bland attempts in making something different, especially the doomy/folkish track "Suru" which is sung completely in Finnish is for my taste partially irritating. But let's start with good things... The first two tracks are nothing else but fine representatives of the above mentioned mixture of styles, especially the albums highlight "Profound Oblivion" has all the necessary ingredients to move your soul. Musically the band tries to keep the atmospheric and melancholic moment always present in best possible way and they do it with kind of lightness in the typical Suomi manner. The sound is dense, intense and gives a feeling of coldness. Driving guitar lines and some memorable riffs, plus quite powerful and technical drumming are the high points in Antagonist Zero music. Bass lines are often somehow pushed back in the mix, but still giving quite a fine flow and depth to the rhythmic line. I was impressed by many captivating melodies and catchy moments, but what disturbs me a bit are some of the clean vocals, because when they are too high pitched, for example on some occasions in the opener are really annoying, or in the second half of the otherwise well composed track "Suru" where it almost ruined it. On the other hand I was impressed by harsh vocals, they are deep, strong, dynamic, a bit similar to the ones of Anders from Draconian and add some of heaviness to the overall output.

I wasn't familiar before with the Finnish pop icon Jenni Vartiainen, but Antagonist Zero made me listen to her music and to tell you the truth I'm not impressed that much with what I've heard and neither with the remake of her track "Missä Muruseni On", it's just a bit to mellow and it has no depth at all, but I believe that it will find its admirers in their home land. Fortunatelly there's also a cover of doom/death masters Doom:VS - "The Lachrymal Sleep", which is a different story, the Finns added to it kind of additional energy. Antagonist Zero nicely floats between many variations of slow and mid paced tempos with occasional outbursts of energetic thounderous escalations, they make the thing dynamic also with a couple of acoustic insertions and it's quite fascinating that the band achived such kind of ambiances without the use of keys. There are many moments inside the tracks that will get stuck in your head thanks to some really impressive melodies and catchy choruses. While the production is good enough I must suggest to them to try next time with a slightly different mix especially when it comes to clean vocals. Otherwise No Tears is a nice piece of atmospheric dark metal and recommended to the fans of above mentioned bands.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10