This is going to be a first: RMR promoting a record containing a whopping five intros1), plus a master overture at the very beginning. Some of that stuff dwells outrageously far out in fairyland and is in part so bad you just want to slam the door shut in their face.
But you won’t, believe me. Because this whole magic brew somehow sticks to you like goo from the abyss and won’t let you go until you have surrendered your soul to it.
Antyra and their debut studio full-length album Pentachronist will do that to you. Chaotic, scratchy, dissonant, blackened – and utterly fascinating. Teutonic lyrics spewing your way, mostly in German and some in English.
This whole album is so underground, it reeks of dirty backyards, sporting shabby sheds to house the musicians. And you fear to find these smoky entrances to Hel – the cold afterworld of yonder times – hidden in basements somewhere.
Will you dare go down into the pit and face the monsters?
Now, wait a minute! What was that about a début album? The band – joining us from Leipzig – already clings to the aforementioned stinky metal underbelly since 2006, but only produced one EP back in 2009, now followed by this new album. Well, I’ll be damned.
Antyra proclaims Pentachronist to be Narrative Epic Metal. The opinions vary wildly on what qualifies epic in metal and what doesn’t. For sure, Antyra gyrate around a wide arrangement of metal flavors, from Black Metal to Prog and back with a mighty shot of Pagan Metal. I’d position them in the Prog and Alt Metal area (which in itself is often defined as epic), even the Psychedelic universe. But in the end, nobody really cares what the hell it is, as long as the tune is juicy and gets us some stellar metal.
Pentachronist follows a storyline of sorts!
Five2) chapters, each with a prelude or intro, kind of narrating the upcoming chapter. Some of the intros harass you in form of some sort of a weird chant, others in a kind of bizarre monologue and choir worse than Lords of the Ring after 15 hobbit beers. All this strung together helter-skelter, which ain’t winning them any laurels either.
The actual tracks – however – are another story altogether. THIS is what will keep you glued to the record. Some of that will growl at you darkly, with blackened Death Metal. Then again switching to clear voice and airy modes. Alternating between stellar riffs and dark, meaty interludes. The teeth-grinding ’70s-style keyboard actually fits for once, where it usually miserably fails for other bands.
And once they let loose with those, there is no holding back. The music tracks are all good to very good and take you on a wild ride, sometimes in English and mostly in German. Their very unique super Prog style, mixing ’80 style rock with Death and Pagan Metal is really refreshing, but not a blend that we often heard so far.
Just take Flammenflut in its Melodic Death Metal splendor. This one always reminds me – in structure and delivery – of Kanseil without the archaic instruments. Von Höchsten Spähren is a good example of how you can get away pretty much with a chorus line, spiced with some stellar soloing and riffing. And it is a great track in itself.
Now, Antyra (the title track) really bears the flame on this record. Speed Metal – at first. Because this comes in the midst of enjoying some shards of Stoner and Prog Rock. Again, a wild mix of … stuff, but in itself a great track too. The other noteworthy track Hinab In Den Maelström will take you on a somewhat bizarre ride, wild Melodic Death Metal.
Now, where does this motley selection of tracks land us?
You gotta give it to them. I have seldom seen creative energy at work to that extent. Having the courage to concoct a piece of work of such exquisite and eclectic complexity, stringing together theatrical parts with metal and rock speaks for itself.
Make no mistake, their work has a lot of room to improve still, but the whole forms an amalgam that grudgingly presents itself as a whole. And true to the band’s own words, they are definitely a live band judging by their garage look and feel throughout Pentachronist.
So, listen to the album a few times and discover. And by all means, go see them live if you happen to be in Germany. Good job!
Ed’s note: This record successfully made it onto the Intermittent Digest IV. It is also interesting how other bands seem to seize on the same elements as Antyra and create a winning strategy. Like the late Lör and their 2017 album In Forgotten Sleep. Or again, Porta Nigra for storytelling. But this time from the blackened realm.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Official Site
Release date: 27 November 2015