This album proves why this band are one of Europe's leading punk bands, but it also has me questioning whether or not the best? Personally, though, I can't label one band as the best because Europe's got too many good bands, but this release is certainly one of the best. Among the message carried, the power and superlative passion, they deserve a medal for the effort put in.
Antillectual's always been a keen advocate of bringing along book distros on tours -- a regular thing, be sure to see if they're in your area anytime. The booklet included with the CD offers explanations on each song's meaning and helps you realise the strength of lyrics, each providing commentary on political issues, clichés in societies, personal philosophies... It's as if you've been handed a book you want more of with a CD that couldn't be more fitting. Perhaps a stereotypical pessimistic young outlook? Personally, I disagree.
Now, musically (as i'm not writing a review of a book) it seems everything couldn't be more fitting. Their previous full-length Silencing Civilization was good -- however, a touch repetitive. Testimony solves that issue offering incredible variation whilst within the boundaries of the unique sound Antillectual have created themselves. Each song provides a different tone whilst portraying a message with a fitting sound be it positive, agressive or even heartfelt passion.
The production also has to be complimented hitting the nail on the head perfectly; having its own unique sound aiding the progression of their passion onto the individual listening, the CD mentions three people involved with mastering and production -- I'm not sure who was ultimately responsible -- and either way this couldn't have come out sounding better.
Kicking off with the album titled track "Testimony" exploding around you, you're pleasantly decieved with a slow-down a little over halfway through, something you'd expect at the end of an album. The contrast of the piano part to the gruff yet highly melodic and aggressive part, Antillectual provide a stark contrast to their message: 9/11 versus the fall of the Iron Curtain; the beginning of 'an ideological vacuum.'
The explosive "bodies slashed apart, into pieces" introduction of "Friendly Fire" demands answers. The passion held within holds similarities to Propagandhi, as mentioned with their previous full-length; however, the approach is a more melodic European sounding one. Adhesive were loved by many, considered one of the best punk rock bands out of Europe and the comparisons between Antillectual and Adhesive are high - compare the intro of "The Dog Ate It" to Adhesive's "Dividing Lines"; spooky.
I imagine Antillectual are still pretty unknown to many, which is why I feel like I have to mention an overall comparison. Previously I compared Antillectual to "a cross between Propagandhi, Hot Water Music and finally Rise Against" and some others mentioned Strike Anywhere. This isn't really like any other band, which is why it's so damn good. Testimony certainly likens the band to Propagandhi and Hot Water Music.
For me, this release has solidified their sound and uniqueness. It's not like so and so from USA and so and so from Canada -- this is Antillectual from Nijmegen, Netherlands playing fucking awesome punk rock and I could happily listen to this album a million times.