Antigama – Whiteout Review

Antigama, at this point, is an institution of modern grind. The perennial contender, these Polish riff-junkies, ever solid in their strangeness, continue to litter the basin of the great grindpile in hopes to build a mound of filth worthy of the crown. As such, Antigama, in that traditional Polish underdog spirit, persists. Though they haven’t released a proper full-length 1 since 2015’s The Insolent, they’ve been steadily dropping EPs and splits, even featuring as a guest band for a track on Takafumi Matsubara’s (Gridlink) solo outing, Strange, Beautiful and Fast. So now, with Whiteout, Antigama aims to redact their streak as the best grind band that no one knows. Endlessly enraged, and deceptively creative, have these stalwarts of the furious arts finally secured a seat at the head of the table?

While just a hair behind the best and brightest of the 1:1 track-to-minutes ratio crowd, Antigama has put forth yet another full-frothed effort with Whiteout, continuing their trend to remain skull-crushingly heavy at every possible turn. Founding guitarist Sebastian Rokicki’s wild sliding riffage—a hallmark of tension littered about Antigama’s previous outings—reigns present and thriving. Combining the experimental, and often noisy, edge of original grindoneers Brutal Truth with an aggressive hardcore smattering à la Trap Them, Antigama is simultaneously an old punk’s and a new punk’s band. To that point, they’ve followed a bit of the Napalm Death path of increasing anthemic death metal mixed in with their grind DNA. Rest assured, Antigama can smash and groove with the best of them.

However, rather than trying to be actively outré with each progression, Antigama has learned to lead with a more modern death/thrash affair before they floor the pedal on an ear-scraping bridge or percussive pummeling. “Holy Hand,” for instance, starts out as easily the best thrash shuffle that I’ve heard since the turn of the decade,2 but by the bridge it takes a mighty fall into a stumbling, discordant whirlwind of scathing guitar summoning. And before you can realign your asshole, Antigama has already fired up a follow-up blast with “Dust Farm,” which sees serial skin abuser Paweł Jaroszewicz laying waste to his snare as tinder for the flaming pit breakdown that ensues. In a similar understated fashion, “Hinderance” whimsies along with a low octane, heavy metal stroll, complete with a stadium-sized tom tussle that takes the place of other solo efforts. This deep inhale is short-lived as Jaroszewicz sucker slams his snare rim with determined devastation (“The Howler”), somehow having enough stick left to finish out the track.

To the uninitiated, the frenetic riffcraft that grind presents can often feel like a blur, but being the product of veterans, Whiteout simply flows, letting Antigama’s weirder flourishes bookmark moments along the way. Solitary throat Łukasz Myszkowski mixes up his already wide array of ill-advised articulations with brief interjections of robotic takeover (“Debt Pool”) and spacious shouts that beg for a crowd to yell along (“Dust Farm,” “Disasters”). While Jaroszewicz routinely baffles the audience with stinging snare rolls and playful kick work, most impacting are his abrasive clanging clashes that recall the tribal brutality of early Sepultura (“Align,” “The Howler”). Of course, it wouldn’t be Antigama without a blood-soaked cherry on top, so in a Painkiller-inspired move, they recruited Marcin Kajper for an old fashion freak saxing to give us a kick out the door at the finale.

Now eight albums in, Antigama continues to prove that they have plenty more to say. Whether you have a novice or advanced grind vocabulary, the wisdom Antigama offers with the smart layout of Whiteout can educate bands and listeners at all levels. It’s unfortunate that they’ve released an album in the wake of Wormrot this year, yet still Whiteout has a flavor unique enough to occupy an earlier course in your grind platter. The elevated basics and crowd-churning presentation serves just as many aggression-starved speed junkies as the more heady approach of their peers (and even the more heady approach of past Antigama outings). Despite what your dentists may advise you, more grind is a good thing3. Do yourself a favor and welcome good grind into your life with Whiteout


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Selfmadegod Records
Websites: antigamaofficial.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/antigama
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2022

Show 3 footnotes

  1. What is full-length grindcore anyway?
  2. Enforced would like to have a word with you in a dark alley. – Holdeneye
  3. Though if you do have jaw pains and suspect it might be the result of excessive nighttime grinding, you may want to consult with your local specialist, if available.
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