It's just about showtime on a Wednesday night at the Frequency, and the stage room contains only a few folks with pints ... and a band dressed in hooded black capes, forbidding sunglasses and a bit of dark makeup. They stroll to the stage and with no fanfare begin cranking out precise metal riffs, attracting most of the folks in the front room to the back within a few minutes.
That was my introduction to The Antiprism, a band that includes Madison music scene veterans who have previously played in Shotdown, Tormentula, Pachinko, Merrick and other groups. Three of the four Antiprism members also performed together in QWADD.
The band lists its genre on MySpace as "Metal/Metal/Metal," and that's about right. A self-titled album released in September displays a melange of many strains of hard-edged music which often don't appear in combination: stoner rock, concisely played late '70s British mayhem, at times near-death metal vocals, black metal's occult themes, touches of speed, and more.
The album was recorded by Ricky Riemer at Science of Sound and released by local label Barbarian Records, an imprint shepherded by Ear Wax Record Shop owner Rob Cleveland. Barbarian has issued mostly discs by Milwaukee and Madison bands over the past several years, and Cleveland says The Antiprism was a natural fit.
"I just saw them play a couple times, and their bassist worked at the shop for awhile and introduced me to the band," he explains. "I always have my ear open for good new stuff and when I approached them they agreed."
"Exorcist" is one of the album's more uptempo tracks, galloping along with propulsive double bass drum pummeling. Lead vocals are split between the scalded cat yowl of drummer Kristine Drake and the marble gargle growl of guitarist Alex Drake.
"Metal has just become so diverse ... there's something out there for everyone," says Cleveland. And the diversity in The Antiprism's sound will likely help them appeal to fans of straightforward hard rock as well as more metal-literate listeners.
An MP3 of "Exorcist" is available in the related downloads at right. More music by The Antiprism is available on its MySpace page. The next chance to catch the band playing live will be on Saturday, November 7 at the Frequency.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.