January is set to be a big month for Antagonist A.D. Not only are they appearing at Unify Gathering 2020, the band will be releasing Through Fire; the first in their series of 7″ EPs. It lands on 17th January via Greyscale Records.  Through Fire pulls together previous singles “A.P.M.D.” and “No Justice”, and adds “Pure Fear” – released today along with a music video – and two other unreleased tracks, “Gates of Hell” and “Bloom”. It’s unclear how many 7″‘s will be part of the series.

When it comes to the series as a whole, vocalist Sam Crocker’s words are palpable when he talks of the inspiration behind it; the current social and political climate, both here and abroad and the impact this has had upon him.  In his own words: “2018 and 2019 have been the worst years of my life. I’ve struggled through so much pain. My anxiety is at an all time high. Misinformation, hurt, failure, regret, mistakes, repentance all amidst a rebirth of societal ignorance, racism, and misdirected anger housed inside (and fuelled by) a broken system. I want to burn it all down and start again.”

There’s nothing like music to capture the visceral experience of what it’s like to be a human, and these times we’re in are worth preserving in this way for their lack of sense and the confusion that surrounds. “Pure Fear” encapsulates some of the internal experience of living in this societal chaos, focusing bluntly and directly upon the sensations. Oppressive and relentless, pummelling beats and driving riffs come coupled with the detailing of the dark beast that is fear and anxiety. Forcing through the density of sound is a determination of not just enduring but overcoming and rising above, and feeling the pain in the process.

“I will be king again”

The pain is visibly represented in “Pure Fear”‘s music video also, but in a societal way instead of internally. Footage of demonstrations, activism, and brutal police-civilian clashes appear alongside video of Sam surrounded by members of the scene, slowly but surely progressing and moving forward as a strong collective.

Directed by Joel Birch (The Amity Affliction), Sam explains the video’s relevance to the song by aligning the internal violence with the external. He says “The video has a theme of police violence which is something we need to address and bring to light. The police are here to protect and serve. Not hired goons to quell down any political or social protest. We can’t change the system by playing by its rules. This bleeds heavily into the concept of your mind going rogue on you. Your own emotions that are there to serve and protect you, beating you mercilessly – criticising and shaking you down for the slightest misstep.”

Self-sovereignty courses through Antagonist A.D’s music, and being one’s own authority versus being controlled is a clear message that persists. When it comes to the series, Sam has expressed an admirable desire to empower and to use the band’s platform to inspire change and growth. The EP series (recorded by Kurt Ballou (Converge) and Zack Weeks at GodCity Studios) seems to all but promise to be politically charged and full of heartfelt fire that we know and love of Antagonist A.D.

Pre-orders for Through Fire are available now: https://grysclrec.lnk.to/throughfire. Watch “Pure Fear” below via YouTube.

Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it. [Loved the read? Shout Kel a latte.]

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