As we celebrate the return and works of seminal post-hardcore godfathers At The Drive-In this week, we decided we’d also look at the members’ extracurriculars – the bands they’ve been in during and since – and what makes them equally worth your time.
Today we take a look at the genre bending melting pot that is:
With the untimely death of The Mars Volta (again, more on them later in the week) in 2013, that the two core members of the most genre-bending progressive bands in the past 20 years would decide to create yet another project, you’d be forgiven the wave of apprehensive anxiety.
The birth of Antemasque, when the corpse of The Mars Volta was barely cold, could have been a little jarring; nevertheless, Omar Rodríquez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala were back again, with TMV conspirator Dave Elitch, and also tapping Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea for bass duties, the line up was solid.
Their debut came in November 2014 to a storm of “what the hell is this?” from longtime fans of the Bixler-López pairing. Its departure from the The Mars Volta sound and a focus on straight-up solid rock tracks was met with much derision, and the irony that fans of a progressive band would complain so vehemently when its members continue to progress can’t be ignored.
Whilst the self-titled debut from Antemasque has a focus on cleverly constructed riffs and a more balls to the wall approach, the record is arguably just as progressive as anything its members have put their name to thus far.
Lead single “4AM” was the krautrock-influenced siren call that dragged fans to the band in swathes. Its punk sensibilities might have thrown a few people off, but it certainly shows a willingness from the band to remove the pretence that often muddied the waters of their previous operations. Its noodly guitar lines and constantly present bass lines are recurring theme for the record as a whole but it’s not without its individual charm.
“Drown All Your Witches“
Antemasque doesn’t aim to show off any of the members’ unique approaches but instead endeavours to become more than the sum of its parts. This becomes heavily prevalent during the tracks such as “Drown All Your Witches” and “Providence“, which allow the for organic growth of the music with a relaxed and ultimately more approachable brilliance.
Antemasque maintain a quality that isn’t usually found in a supergroup, and not just that but they manage to be better than their individual parts in many ways. Despite their one album wonder status, they have more music written and ready to release – I just hope it happens before we all die of old age.