With their debut Giftes 1&2, Antlered Man showed that they had an uncommon affinity for unhinged song structures, heavy riffing, theatrical vocals and frenetic rhythms. The purpose of This Devil Is Them therefore seems to be to rein in all that horsepower in the service of, well, actual songs.
That’s not to do down Giftes, but rather an observation on just how organised the chaos of this record sounds.
Opener The Ballad Of Hamhock Fullsleeve goes from foreboding, Tool-esque dynamics to full-on metal à la System Of A Down or Filter, before bringing everything back for a groove-led, spaced out verse.
GDZ bears many of the same qualities to excellent effect, but the album’s highlight is crazed prog wig-out Claude The Ideal Bloody Gentleman, complete with spoken-word poetry, laugh-out-loud lyrics and some headbanging rock. Audition Tapes For Hades gamely attempts to keep up the same energy levels for its 10 minutes but it’s upstaged by the album’s first half.
Antlered Man’s sound is all their own, and on this bizarre, eclectic 21st century rock album they’ve really outdone themselves.