ANTAGONIST ZERO – No Tears
Debatable to consider "No Tears" an EP, considering you have 36 minutes of music to consume even if it’s only 5 songs. But let’s take Finland’s Antagonist Zero at their word and consider this their third product and follow up to their 2012 album "Doomed" which blew me away for its doom/post-alternative/ death/black textures that ebb and flow like the changing of the tides. Containing three original cuts plus two covers, their versatile ability to move from clean vocals to death growls as well as heavier riffs to more morose passages makes "Profound Oblivion" at 7:22 a moving cut – especially through the tension-filled buildups from bassist Fredde Sjöblom and drummer Aleksi Tervo.
"Suru" contains ethereal vocal chanting that blends perfectly with the slower doom riffs, even if images of Swallow the Sun and My Dying Bride appear in my brain matter. The two covers "Missä Muruseni On" and "The Lachrymal Sleep" are stunning displays of making the songs more of their own, the ideal situation for Antagonist Zero to hone in on their chops while exposing their listeners to fresh artists. The band describe their style as catatonic metal – so of course Katatonia also comes up in the conversation, but more from an older slant. Even the production values seem to be taken up a couple of notches in terms of the tone and beefiness.
Whether it’s the climate, the environment, the upbringing, or the ability to channel those swirling emotions in the right direction, Finland seems to be a hotbed for this type of soul-stirring metal music. Reason enough for you to invest in Antagonist Zero, as "No Tears" is another moving document to treasure.