ANTiSEEN - New Blood (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


New Blood (2012)


As dedicated as ANTiSEEN is to self-annihilation, its interesting to see how reverent they are towards the music that inspired them. New Blood, a collection of the band's singles from 2008-2011 and some new tracks, finds the band fitting the material to create a surprisingly coherent album that pays respect to their influences as well as furthers their own quest for self destruction.

As with most of their work, the North Carolina band blends together punk/early hardcore with Southern style blues rock. The connection between the two genres is never more apparent than it is on "Reconstruction." The bands slams out three chord riff after three chord riff, but the song swings like ZZ Top, making the connection between punk and blues mixed together with no clear separation. BB King could as easily sing the song as could the Dwarves.

This connection is also addressed by each of the poles. The band tears through a fairly faithful rendition of the Ramones' "Chainsaw." However, Jeff Clayton's whisky soaked voice growls in lieu of Joey Ramone's lamentation, which takes the song from one of horror to one of perverse glee. Then, on the other side of their influences, the band cuts through "Black Eyed Suzie," a Southern banjo cut with the help of Hank III's stringsman Joe Buck Yourself. While the song is a traditional ballad based around a circular chorus, the band's purposeful sloppiness gives the song a ragged punk menace.

Just as the band twists their sources into a combination of their own material, the lyrics suggest a certain twisted transformation. For instance, on "Black Eye Suzie Brown," is the song an ode or lamentation to spousal abuse…or does "Black eyed" refer to eye color and not to bruises? Does the band care? "Pledge Allegiance to the Bomb" is just that, but is the song speaking in a ironic detachment of contemporary war theory, or are they really hoping for nuclear fallout to wipe out the human race?

But, despite the band running headlong into destruction, it's remarkable how much they preserve their source material. Personally they might be hoping for an end, but the energetic crunch of their riffs suggests that if anything, they're doing their best to preserve both Southern rock and classic American punk. New Blood is an argument for the curation of both, because while these songs are all loud and nasty, they each maintain a separate identity and edge, something sorely lacking in much modern music. Certainly the members themselves would have to (regretfully?) acknowledge that by trying to destroy themselves for so long, they've ended up preserving their career and by accident, preserved two disparate genres along the way.