I love metal. I mean, obviously I love metal, I write for a metal blog, after all. I’m assuming that since you’re reading that same blog, that you have an interest in metal as well. There’s a lot to like about metal. Though sometimes, you might find yourself getting tired of every band trying to out-kvlt their peers, of every act trying to be the angriest band in town. That’s exactly why I love Antioch so much. This Canadian quartet has been active since 2013, and in their half-decade of life, they’ve melted faces and won hearts with a series of rocking, old-skool self-titled releases, the latest of which, Antioch III: Wings and Warlocks, might just be their strongest yet.
One of Antioch’s most endearing traits is that they’re able to channel their influences in a way that’s more than simply rehashing old Priest or Maiden tunes. Antioch have proven yet again that there are still great traditional metal songs to be written, melodies yet to be fashioned, and beers yet to be pounded. There’s enough originality in the songwriting to ensure that everything Antioch does sounds distinctly like Antioch. In a genre many would argue has been beaten to death by wannabes, copycats and SIXTEEN fucking Anvil albums, Antioch have managed to establish their own fresh identity.
Another thing I appreciate about Antioch is that they’re not afraid to get technical. These dudes can PLAY. Alex Dupis can shred like nobody’s fucking business, and he does so liberally. While he’s playing, if you listen real closely, you can occasionally hear K.K. Downing muttering “I wish I’d wrote that” in the distance. If you doubt me, just have a listen to his infectious riff, coupled with some warm-sounding bass courtesy of Jordan Rhyno, in the first fifteen seconds of “Forged in Light.” The guitar solos that populate Wings and Wizards are nothing short of de-fucking-lightful. I challenge you to sit still from 2:45 to 3:35 of “Where the Dagger Lies.” You just can’t.
But the band’s greatest weapon comes in the form of one Mister Nicholas Allaire. Screaming like Halford by way of King Diamond, he makes high notes tremble before his power. He oversings to a ridiculous degree on each song, and makes it work. Whether he’s rasping like a disheveled warlock, or crooning over a power ballad, he’s got pipes of gold. He sings lyrics like “Ripped from the darkness/Right from the reaper’s hand!” with enough conviction to make you think Wings and Warlocks was his biography.
In closing, Wings and Warlocks is fun. It’s the sound of drinking beers on the front lawn with your buddies. It’s the sound of driving way too fast. It’s the sound of fun. The first song is literally called “Wings of Pterodactyl Fire,” for Chrsit’s sake. How can that NOT be fun? Wings and Warlocks is a great album packed with memorable, melodic bangers and plenty of heart. Antioch are quickly growing from hometown heroes (being the fellow Ontario boys that they are) into vest-metal champions. I can’t wait to see where the magic-pterodactyl carries them next.