|Musical Style: Power Metal/Thrash||Produced By: Sean Perry|
|Record Label: Nightmare||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2001||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 8||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 54:40|
In 2001 Cleveland, Ohio based Antithesis followed up its 2000 self-titled debut with a stronger and more well rounded sophomore effort entitled Dying For Life. While the band maintains the energetic power metal direction of the debut in question, it expands upon its sound by drawing upon influences as diverse as progressive metal or even thrash to create one of the finest releases of the year. The versatile mid-octave ranged voice of frontman Ty Cook allows him to hit a high note with ease or reach down low for a death metal like growl. Sean Perry and Paul Konjicija form a phenomenal guitar team in which the two contribute a plethora of tastefully done dual lead guitar work. Bassist James Lewis puts in a tight sounding performance, while Paul Kostyack pulls out all the stops with his technical style of drumming.
Dying For Life showcases an immaculate production job giving prominence to a crystal clear and sharp sounding sonics. An abundance of upfront and edgy rhythm guitar underscores a near perfect mix of fluid lead guitar work, prominent bass lines and crisp sounding drums.
Please note that the European release of Dying For Life (On Massacre Records), of which this review is based, features a different song order and album artwork when compared to the U.S. release on Nightmare Records. On the US version the albums title track is listed as “Dying For Life (Limbo Part II)” – in reference to the song “Limbo” from the self-titled debut – while it is simply “Dying For Life” on the European release. The European version also includes the songs “Netherworld” and “Secret Fires” (both taken from the debut) as bonus tracks while on the US release only “Netherworld” is featured as a bonus track.
It is also worth commending Antithesis for the creative lyrical approach it takes in addressing topics ranging from suicide, crooked politicians, abusive relationships and trials and tribulation.
"Consequence" opens the album in a heavy handed and thrash influenced direction. Introduced to a drum solo, "Consequence" progresses to a double bass driven riff that pushes it to a hard hitting chorus backed by vocal harmonies. Perry and Konjicija contribute a fiery dual lead guitar trade off, Konjicija handling the first solo and Perry the second. As its title implies, "Consequence" deals with facing the consequences of our actions and decisions:
Act without reason, the choice you have made
Thinking only of yourself
You take your chances without regard
Clueless of cards you have dealt...
It's all consequence
It only makes sense
To reap what you sow
It's all just a show
A heavy duty combination of rhythm guitar and double bass impels "Soul Of Ice" over its first forty-five seconds. Continuing in an energetic guitar driven manner through its first verse, the song slows slightly for its second. "Soul Of Ice" repeats the same pattern for its third and fourth verse before briefly transitioning to a passage carried by an acoustic guitar. Konjicija and Perry close things out by both contributing guitar solos.
The acoustic guitar initiating "Times Of Trial" is joined by the rhythm section after one minute, the acoustic based direction of the song sustained during its first verse as Cook talks about the trials and tribulations of life:
In this life you will find
Tests and trials and despair
If your faith is strong
You'll know where to cast your cares
Once the rhythm guitar takes over halfway through the second, it propels the song at an anthemic mid-tempo pace as Cook points out where our focus should be during those trials in question:
From the lessons learned
And the bridges I have burned
I have found but one true friend
Who will stand by me through times of complexity
And held me through the times of trial
Over one minute of tight rhythm guitar harmony opens an instrumental section culminating with Konjicija's fluid and intricately played guitar solo. "Times Of Trial" closes decisively by twice repeating a catchy chorus that effectively sums up the songs message:
I am here with you in spirit
I will never leave your side
I'll be right here if you need me
Take my hand and walk with me
All the while these are times of trial
Carry onward through the darkest mile
"Deceiver Within" showcases one of the albums strongest melody lines. After an acoustic guitar slowly takes the song through its first verse, the rhythm guitar kicks in at the start of the second and leads the way to a chorus with a huge radio friendly hook. Konjicija's flashy guitar solo only adds to the songs appeal.
An upbeat combination of bass guitar and drums stands in support of "Distanced" until an edgy rhythm guitar underscored by double bass urges the song through its first two minutes. A driving guitar takes over as "Distanced" reaches its first verse as Cook talks about the necessity of ending an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship:
Today is the day we go our separate ways
No longer will I carry twice the weight
It's time to cut you loose
You won't drag me down this time
Misery loves company
Your invitation I decline
Continuing in an aggressive thrash influenced direction through its second verse, "Distanced" gradually slows over its third and fourth verse. A fast paced solo from Konjicija highlights a minute long instrumental passage before the driving riff returns to carry the song to its close.
"Mad Poet" moves ahead to a near doom-like riff until Kostyack's double bass enters the mix in time to underline a catchy chorus conveyed in an energy-laden fashion. Once Cook reaches down low and adds some grit to his delivery, the song closes to an instrumental passage highlighted by a combination of acoustic guitar and thrashy double bass driven rhythm guitar.
The lengthy bass guitar solo at the beginning of "Politicide" transitions to a crunchy rhythm guitar that bounces between the left and right channel. Advancing at a mid-tempo pace to a thrash flavored riff, "Politicide" culminates upon reaching a strong double bass driven chorus. Perry contributes a blazing guitar solo before the song closes to several seconds of death metal-like growling from Cook. "Politicide" talks about crooked politicians:
Crooked politicians promise things
And never see them through
Bleed this country bankrupt
And the while they're bleeding me and you...
In God we trust with every cent
God can't approve how it is spent
An acoustic guitar underscored by a prominent bass line propels the first minute and a half of the albums nine minute title track. After an aggressive double bass driven riff kicks in, it proceeds to quickly push "Dying For Life" forward until it reaches a sweeping chorus carried at an upbeat tempo. Perry and Konjicija contribute a nail biting dual lead guitar trade off to a song focusing on suicide and its eternal consequences -
With broken heart and broken mind
I took my life before it's time
For one must die to rest in peace
I tried to put my mind at ease
I never thought my suffering
Would last all eternity
The soul lives on beyond this life
Will you ascend into the Light
Or be consumed by nothingness
Or feel the flames of hell fire
- in addition to reinforcing the eternal promise of the believer:
A paradise awaits the saved
The promise kept to thee of faith
Lived by the word, receive the Son
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
On Dying For Life Antithesis has put together an impressive effort showcasing a superb production job and the bands top notch display of musicianship. Every song on the album holds up under repeated play; however, "Deceiver Within" stands out with its noteworthy melody line, while "Times Of Trial" ranks among the finest power metal numbers this reviewer has heard.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Consequence" (5:15), "Soul Of Ice" (5:35), "Times Of Trial" (8:26), "Deceiver Within" (4:51), "Distanced" (6:10), "Mad Poet" (6:21), "Politicide" (7:38), "Dying For Life" (9:12)
Ty Cook – Lead Vocals
Sean Perry – Guitars
Paul Konjicija – Guitars
James Lewis – Bass
Paul Kostyack - Drums
Rake, Jamie Lee. "Their Place In All This: On Antithesis". HM 92 (2001): 28.