Review: Antigama’s Stop the Chaos EP

Antigama: Stop the Chaos EP

Antigama: Stop the Chaos EP (Selfmadegod, 5/22/12)

“The Law”

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This EP from progressive grindcore act Antigama ends with a familiar swooshing sound that usually precedes the beginning of a new track. Listeners are thus left with the impression that there’s more to come, and that Stop the Chaos might actually be a teaser for a longer offering. (A relatively restrained ambient soundscape, the EP’s final track also lines up nicely if you have music of another genre cued up to play after it on your playlist.) Still, though Antigama deftly plays the leave-them-wanting-more card, the Polish quartet packs no small measure of substance into Stop the Chaos’ 15-minute run time.

More varied than many grindcore albums that are twice as long, Stop the Chaos demonstrates Antigama’s penchant for peaks, valleys, and innovation. As usual, the band folds a number of experimental elements into the material without sacrificing its underlying urgency. But Antigama also puts a high premium on songwriting — a skill often overlooked by the group’s peers, and one that’s on expert display here. Memorable riffs within songs that actually develop, sometimes in the space of just a minute and a half, create the illusion that this EP is much longer than it actually is.

Stop the Chaos marks Antigama’s return to Polish label Selfmadegod after a two-album run on Relapse. The EP also ushers in the return of original vocalist Łukasz Myszkowski, as well as the recording debuts of new drummer Paweł Jaroszewicz and new bassist Michał Zawadzki. Even with three-quarters of its personnel overhauled since 2009 full-length Warning, Antigama manages to keep its vision, purpose, and the continuity of its body of work strikingly intact.