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Antlered Man – This Devil Is Them (New Heavy Sounds)

The clue is very much in the title for this is a record that wears its horns firmly on its sleeve. Whilst maybe not quite the personification of evil, This Devil Is Them is nonetheless an almost unrelenting statement of demonic intent. From the very opening blast of ‘The Ballad of Hamhock Fullsleeve’ it is as hot as Hades and with blood-curdling guitar, a remorseless rhythm and screaming voices as its collective stamp, the second long playing release from Bermondsey’s very own Antlered Man is really the most perfect antithesis to easy listening.

The album’s first single ‘GDZ’ coughs, splutters and then takes a running jump into all out industrial action, lurching as it does from a point somewhere between the ghost of early Queens of the Stone Age and a full metal reincarnation of Sparks. ‘Ian Will Break Again’ dredges its melody from the very depths of hardcore punk while ‘Claude The Ideal Bloody Gentlemen’ does at least pause temporarily to draw breath before careering off into a vortex of prog-infested mania. “I can’t stand him” yells Damo Ezekiel-Holmes, and you can begin to see his point.

Even though it ultimately fails in its lyrical quest, with its relentless monsters-of-rock riff there is nothing false about the musical message that ‘Phony Tough’ conveys while the ensuing ‘Salute De Calme’ is anything but. It is a dizzying climb into a desperate spiral of clattering drums, guitar and voices from which it is nigh on impossible to escape. Clocking in at more than ten minutes in length and with its more leisurely contemplation on the true meaning of progressive rock, the album’s penultimate ‘Audition Tapes’ is at strange odds with all of the blood and guts that is spilled around it.  It is therefore strangely reassuring to then sign off with the sonic bile of ‘My Surname, My Cum’.

This Devil Is Them is an unwieldy beast of a record. It has clearly evolved from the embryo of its predecessor ‘Giftes 1&2’, yet somewhat conversely when it creeps into this previously uncharted territory of progression it loses its focus and becomes less successful. But when Antlered Man’s finger is firmly back on that hard rock trigger This Devil Is Them becomes an out-and-out visceral metal monster.

Rating: ★★★½☆

‘This Devil Is Them’ is released on 14th October through New Heavy Sounds

Antlered Man are on tour in November. They will be playing:

Fri 01 Nov – Milton Keynes, The Craufurd Arms

Sat 02 Nov – Nottingham, Rock City

Mon 04 Nov – Southampton, Avendel House

Tue 05 Nov – Bristol, The Louisiana

Wed 06 Nov – Birmingham, The Flapper

Thu 07 Nov – Hull, Fruit

Fri 08 Nov – Norwich, Open Live

Sat 09 Nov – Leicester, Lock 42

Sun 10 Nov – Sheffield, Corporation

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.