Anta: Centurionaut

Young Bristolians’ must-hear masterclass in instrumental prog.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Bless James King. The drummer for Bristol band Anta struck a blow for prog in a recent interview with music website, saying there was a false idea “that prog is a drawn-out and pompous affair [...] which is annoying, as I have loads of prog records and none of them match that description”.

You only have to listen to his four-piece’s extraordinary second album to hear where he’s coming from. Centurionaut is knotty, intelligent prog without an ounce of fat on its lithe frame. It’s as if King Crimson sat in a room for a week watching horror and sci-fi movies then got Television’s Tom Verlaine over for a jam.

It’s all there in the imperious opener Clock Turret Khan, a highly accomplished composition with off-kilter time signature, the assured, punky-raw guitar of Stephen Kerrison and Alex Bertram-Powell’s Hammond threading through each other. King and bassist Joe Garcia provide a strong backbone to the frenetic, multi-faceted Dolmen, Helepolis and Cenotaphium I and II.

Some of these weigh in at the 10-minute mark. Drawn-out? No way – new ideas assail you by the minute. Riveting? Completely. Centurionaut is brawny, brainy fun.