Antagonist – These Cities, Our Graves

These Cities, Our Graves, is New Zealand hardcore band Antagonist’s debut album. The album was actually recorded back in 2006, but due to high demand and unavailability it has been re-packaged for an Australian release. The Australian release features two additional previously unreleased tracks, so I guess for Australian fans the wait has been worth it. The album was also released just in time to coincide with their June tour with Parkway Drive.

There is no pussy-footing around with these boys, as the opening (title) track crashes straight into a brutal drum and riff sequence that sets the tone for the whole album. What follows is 30 minutes of brutal no-holds-barred hardcore. Musically, Antagonist is very tight – the drumming in particular is brilliant. The only complaint I had (and maybe it’s just the NZ accent) is the vocals seem to lack any rhythm or melody. Whether or not that’s what they were going for, it does no justice to the exceptional music.

This record is a real grower, with the second half much stronger the first. This is unusual, as most bands put their hits up front and fill the rest of the album with crap. Kicking off the second half of the album, [No 7 Even] Silver Bullets is a cracker, with the boys really hitting their straps. Suicide Girls follows and is another belter followed by the longest song title I ever seen, Q. What Do You Call Getting A Handjob From Mrs. Calloway In The Back Of Her Jaguar? A. A Fucking Lie.

If you’re one of these people who needs to know the meaning behind the music, you’ll love this album. The booklet features some fantastic artwork, and after each song title and lyrics the band have written a short but informative piece on the meaning behind each track. It’s something more bands should do.