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Montebello, CA

In an ever-changing extreme music climate, it’s not rare to find a band combining a barrage of styles into an ultimately metal sound; what is more atypical is to find one that can do just that in a memorable and motivational fashion and boast a broad history in the scene. Southern California’s ANTAGONIST has, in one form or another, been doing just that, honing their unique craft of melodic metal for a solid 10 years, drawing inspiration from the early thrash of Metallica, the heaviness of Pantera’s early 90s output, and a hint of aggression from the hardcore scene, resulting in a sound both sonically dense and undeniably memorable. Coupled with the band’s energetic and crowd-involving live shows – a testament to band’s previous playing live – the ANTAGONIST sound showcases a little something for everyone, without becoming cliché in a time where genre boundaries within the metal world continue being blurred.

Forming in 1998 as a four-piece in their teenage years, and before switching to a trio for a time during the band’s formative stages, today’s incarnation of ANTAGONIST has been solid and stable since addition of guitarist Matt Lopez in 2001, and the later acquisition of bassist Paul Salem in 2003. With those two joining founding members, drummer Lond Garcia and guitarist/vocalist Carlos Garcia, ANTAGONIST has, in its 10 year history, produced more than a handful of self-financed releases, and established its own long D.I.Y. touring history, remaining vigilant and hard at work consistently, churning out three EPs and two full-lengths in the last five years. That now culminates with the new album, Exist, ANTAGONIST’s most focused effort and first for new home Prosthetic Records.

Thanks for that can go to in-depth demoing at home, the two months of rehearsal prior to entering the studio, and also to producer Fred Archambault (Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, The Confession) who was enlisted for the recording of Exist. Both Archambault and ANTAGONIST were able to work together to zero in on the best bits of the band’s strengths, fusing the band’s previous sound to elements established for a more honed sound. “He was a great guy to work with,” Carlos says. “He really helped us play our songs to their full potential and capture our live energy on record. It was the first time we were in a very relaxed environment, so Fred was really able to get the best of us.”

With Archambault’s help, and the band’s knack for melody, memorable melodies, and unabridged aggression, “Marana” flows into the experimental, and equally as emotional, “Failure On Repeat,” whereas album-opener “Bombshelter” takes a melodic thrash approach and Exist’s title track partners clean vocals with fleet-footed rhythms, leaving “Immaculate Misconception” to dance with guttural death metal vocals and down-beat breakdowns. Ultimately, the wide pallet of provisions at its disposal is ANTAGONIST’s strongest point, enabling the band to showcase whatever the situation calls for, all the while remaining melodic, memorable, and – ultimately – metal.

In a time in the extreme music underground where styles and sub-genres have been meshed, molded, and mashed together countless times before and few bands can boast a history even a few years long, ANTAGONIST can claim a decade of experience despite their young ages and, more importantly, an attitude that hasn’t been jaded after years in the underground – a perspective personified on Exist’s 10 tracks.

“We're lucky to still be around and to have a respectable label behind is seriously a dream come true,” Lond continues. “We still have the same mind set but now we see things on a much bigger level. This has never been a hobby for us, it has always been a priority since we were 14 years old and nothing will change that.”


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Portrait of ANTAGONIST (USA)