Review Summary: Arguably their most consistent release yet. If only it was a little longer.
Despite their best efforts, New Zealand Hardcore act; Antagonist A.D. has never really gained much recognition for what they do. They might not have the most imaginative lyrics like Defeater or the classic hardcore tone like Trapped Under Ice or Carpathian, but they bring their own unique sound to the table, and one that’s worth checking out.
Old Bones Make New Blooms is their second EP release and their fourth release overall, being the follow up to 2008’s We Are The Dead. The good news is that while it sounds cleaner and sharper than previous releases, it still retains their unique sound. Thought to have been inactive for a couple of years, one might worry that they were attempting to mix up their sound quite a bit. God forbid they ever add a permanent keyboard or synth player into the mix.
Lyrically, the album succeeds for the most part. It’s definitely not something I would call inspiring (I promised I wouldn’t mention Defeater more than once in this review) but they aren’t bad by any means. In fact, they’re actually quite good, but I can’t help but feel they lack a bit of meaning and are merely lyrics for lyrics sake. Frontman Sam Crocker is a more than capable vocalist; combining his signature raspy vocals and dense spoken word passages, the latter of which is most evident of the fourth track; Europe:
"A weight holds me down; as I cross and endless plain. One wish for air in my lungs and the blood to flow through my veins."
All five tracks are structured really well and each member plays their instruments without flaw. Even bassist Josh Moffitt can be heard more than other bands of the genre although there’s still plenty of room for improvement on this front.
The key problem with Old Bones Make New Blooms is that it’s quite short. Now, all of Antagonist A.D.’s work has always been a bit under the average runtime, (their two full lengths were around 20 minutes apiece) which was never really a problem for me but I feel that this selection of more matured and focused songs at their disposal might be better suited for a next album, provided they can fill in the other half of the tracks with songs of equal quality.