The Root Of Man
29th April 2016 – Self-release
01. The Root of Man
04. A Sight for Sewn Eyes
06. Twisted Neck
07. Mechanical Heart
08. Feed the Machine
Whoever it was that coined the term ‘nu-metal’ wasn’t thinking ahead. As we ruminated on the release of Anti-Clone‘s 2014 debut EP Hands Sewn Together, the once all-conquering genre was starting to be rehabilitated after a protracted period in the wilderness. What are we to call this resurgence? New-metal? Nu-nu metal? Neo-metal? I have no idea, but Anti-Clone’s first full-length release does suggest that it’s now time to start figuring that out.
Although you can’t hear face paint and masks on a recording, some of Anti-Clone’s striking onstage regalia seems to have bled into their performances, giving The Root Of Man a theatrical, larger-than-life edge. Right from the ominous pounding and rasping of the short, introductory opening title track, we are thrust into some kind of dark, dystopian – and downtuned – horror fantasy.
The influences evident on Hands Sewn Together are most certainly still applicable, and there’s much for fans of Mudvayne, American Head Charge, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson to enjoy – yet The Root Of Man sees Anti-Clone really develop their own take on this sound, and give it a thoroughly modern twist.
Although Anti-Clone’s vision is dark, it’s certainly not downcast. In the main, The Root Of Man is bouncier and punchier than a boxing tournament on a trampoline, and many of these songs feel purpose built to whip up a most vigorous moshpit. The songs are given extra heft in this department through the tunings and tones employed by guitarist brothers Liam and Conor Richardson, providing a bit of a djenty twist. With Matt Hyde again sitting in the producers chair, the production is crisp, clear and efficient.
The best examples of what Anti-Clone can offer include the predatory grooves of “A Sight For Sewn Eyes” and the early Korn-esque stompalong of “Astaroth“. Elsewhere, “Comaspace” stands out from the pack with its dreamy Deftones vibe.
In terms of the lyrical themes, The Root Of Man skirts dangerously close to cliche – evil, destruction, emphatic denial of freakishness and streams of invective against anonymous targets – but at the same time, that absolutely fits the mood generated by the music. More philosophical themes would probably have felt a bit jarring, just as you wouldn’t watch a slasher flick in the hope of an existential inquiry into the human condition.
Fundamentally, The Root Of Man is a lot of fun. Anti-Clone might not be breaking new ground, but they’re breathing fresh life into a genre that has been, sometimes unfairly, much maligned. There’s still some scope for Anti-Clone to grow from here, and perhaps leave some of the more well-worn tropes behind, but in the meantime the combination of these songs and the band’s onstage theatrics are certainly a recipe for some great shows now, and a very promising future.