After three years of silence Antipope has returned with its fifth full-length album “Apostle of Infinite Joy” via the label Fertile Crescent Productions. The band continues to evolve its unique music, interweaving in it more traditional genres. Years ago Antipope played progressive black metal, but now its music is far from such extreme genres, and it is focused on the darker atmospheric melodic heavy metal. And that’s it; this kind of music really fits to the band, so “Apostle of Infinite Joy” is full of catchy and integral compositions. Even the lyrics have been changed from the traditional religious and mythological issues to social and human problems.
The album starts with an acoustic intro, and it is full of them to create more pensive and melancholic mood. Basically, the style is closer to heavy metal, peppered with melodic gothic aura. There’s often a fuzzy guitar sounds (on the songs “Harbinger of Dawn” and “Natural Born Heretic”), which is very common to good old hard rock. But with melancholic anguish and dark perception it teeters on the edge of gothic metal. That’s quintessential trait to Scandinavian music (Antipope is from Finland), the most part of the Scandinavian music is not only melodic, but with some dark vibes (even the pop music). But still the music of Antipope sounds positive.
“Apostle of Infinite Joy” isn’t completely progressive; the progressiveness is not in technicality, but rather in compositional skills. The songs generally are performed in mid-tempo; the fastest songs are “Intoxicating Darkness” and “Venereal Ritual for Dispersion and Reintegration of the Soul”. There’s plenty of beautiful and evocative guitar riffs throughout the album, actually the rhythm guitar is responsible for the structural foundation and general mood. But solo parts aren’t too complicated or pretentious; they are laconic and pertinent, especially on songs “Natural Born Heretic” and “Serpent of Old”. These two songs are closer to folk metal with their war-like anthems in choruses, so these are the most epic tracks on the release as well. “Venereal Ritual for Dispersion and Reintegration of the Soul” has almost psychedelic passage, making the song more mysterious and thoughtful. But “Intoxicating Darkness” is soaked in nostalgic awareness, especially the chorus. And by the way, the choruses of the songs are far more positive and joyous, than the other parts of the songs.
The voice leaves the emotional impact on each song; it is alive with feelings, which forms a special mood on every song. The voice of Mikko Myllykangas isn’t very likeable, but it is diverse and priceless due to emotional sensations. Sometimes he articulately sings with his husky voice, sometimes he heightens it almost to falsetto, but mostly he lowers it and makes it more smoky and harsh. There can be found a narrative manner and whispers (“Harbinger of Dawn”), distorted effect (“Intoxicating Darkness”), extra aggressiveness (“Venereal Ritual for Dispersion and Reintegration of the Soul”) and the double singing, high-pitched and emotional (“0=2”). So it’s really obvious, that the voice of Mikko is truly recognizable.
Antipope’s music is strongly influenced by Sentenced, both bands chose the similar musical style to praise the dark themes with positively melancholic music. But Antipope is on its own way with bright and distinct vocal lines and emotional honesty. And the cover art is distinctly bright as well; it is filled with mythological symbolism, with the red-haired goddess literally walking all over people. Antipope chose to play not the most popular genre, but got to be honest, the music of Antipope definitely adorns the dark extreme heavy metal with its original vision, making it with grim refinement and melodic charm.
Release date: February 21st, 2020
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