Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Antigen Shift – 'Brotherhood'


It has been eight long years since the last Antigen Shift album, 'Way Of The North', was released. But this time hasn't dulled the edge of Nick Thériault’s songwriting. Indeed with the addition of Jairus Khan (Ad-ver-sary), the now duo of Antigen Shift and their aptly named 2014 return 'Brotherhood' present a sharper and more complex entity than before.

There is ever present that familiar sense of urgent rhythm that continually drives the album forward. Yet there is a constant exploration of sounds and styles that elevates the sonic formulas at play here. The influences of jungle, breakbeat, edm, ebm and acts such as early Juno Reactor, Aphex Twin and of course some good ol' fashioned 90's industrial can be heard in tracks such as 'Forced', 'Angry Pillbox', 'Legion', 'Godkrusher', 'Console Nation', 'This Is An Exit', 'Reborn1130', and 'So Much Closer Now'. The sound of the album is one of variety yes, but it isn't a disparate collection of songs. The lighter ambient textures, pianos and classic techno sounds that crop up again and again subtly tie the whole album together with a recognisable and deliberate pallet.

In terms of production the album sits happily somewhere between a dance album and a complex ambient album. The big beats and melodies are high in the mix, but the prominence of the lighter elements give this more listen-ability than you'd expect.

At fourteen songs, some of which break the seven-minute mark, you'd be forgiven that the duo had just tried to squeeze eight years worth of ideas into one album. But that just isn't the case. What they have presented on 'Brotherhood' is a diverse and rich collection of songs that, while keeping one foot firmly in the industrial pool, isn't afraid to explore new ideas and sounds. And they've managed to do this on a nicely unified and succinct album that doesn't sound like someone has thrown ideas at a wall to see what sticks. It might not be what long-time fans were expecting, but it is certainly been worth the wait.

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