Madison has lost some fine metal bands in recent years, including Dissent and Revolt, Buried Future and Luna Mortis. But we have hung on to the Antiprism, which melds Black Sabbath austerity, Iron Maiden guitar harmonies and early-black-metal creepiness.
Age of Wonders, the band's second album, doesn't much vary the approach of 2009's self-titled debut. The quartet often seem to be chronicling the world's seismic shifts and tragedies from a panoramic vantage point on the moon, especially on the title track, "By the Fall of Night," and "The Big Lie."
Kristine Drake brings some grounding filth to the melodic pomp of Alex Drake and Chuck Amble's guitars, both with her drumming and her goblin's-retch vocals on "Coffin Slave." Alex matches Kristine vocally, bringing some James Hetfield vowel-clenching ("the other si-eeeede!") to "Shadow Realms" and singing the title of "Reprobate" as three dragged-out shreds.
The band, sporting its usual black capes and mirrored aviators, brought Age of Wonders' songs across more powerfully at a recent High Noon Saloon show, and none of the new release quite tops first-album tracks like "Moonlight Overdrive." But Age of Wonders ferociously demonstrates the Antiprism's substantial grasp of heavy music.