It’s not that Polish grinders Antigama have ever been by the books, the band’s experimental grind constantly pushing boundaries and limits within the genre. But if you ask guitarist Sebastian Rokicki, Antigama’s new EP, Depressant, was a challenge to make, even by the band’s standards.
“The whole complexity was hard to balance because of the amount of the fast stuff,” he says about the material on the EP. “We worked hard to catch it the way we wanted it to end up. And there’s also another story—our vocalist Lukasz [Myszkowski] had heart surgery in the times of early sessions; we were really concerned about him.”
Rokicki says that Myszkowski recovered very quickly and laid down his best vocals to date, but it was a nerve-wracking process to get there. But now that they’re there, he couldn’t be happier with the results of the EP, which contains the full range of Antigama sounds, from straightforward grind to quirky, prog-grind with all sorts of stops at various rockin’ places in between.
“We’re pretty much sure that Depressant is the best release from Antigama to date,” he says. “It’s a natural progression for the band since the last record, The Insolent. Depressant is way faster, more menacing, executed and recorded much better, and musically wiser than our previous albums. It goes perfectly well with the modern attitude of the band. It’s Antigama A.D. 2018.”
One of the aforementioned rockin’ sounds the band plays with on the EP is during “Division of Lonely Crows,” where Antigama stop from the grind for a minute to add in some guitar work that is completely unexpected, but totally welcome.
“I think when this riff came out I was inspired by Killing Joke and Prong,” says Rokicki. “I love these bands and they’ve always had a lot of influence on the music in Antigama’s history. The riff and the whole song have a very melodic, almost ‘rock’ feeling and came out really great, in my opinion. It’s interesting and different, for sure.”
Then there’s the drum intro and outro to closer “Shut Up,” which will stand as great moments in grind history, with drummer Pawel Jaroszewicz going solo, taking a beat that starts out slow as sludge and gradually turns into a blast; it’s a hypnotic sound, one that he repeats in reverse to end off the song, and the EP. “It was, of course, Pawel’s idea,” says Rokicki.
“The drums sound like they are pounding the rhythm in some factory together with machines but Pawel gets faster [laughs]. I love this crazy idea. “Shut Up” is probably one of the fastest songs we’ve ever made. Pawel is a real monster on Depressant. He’s a very creative guy and made a hell of a job on this mini album.”
The EP’s stunning cover art—and, come on, how often can you call a grind record’s cover art “stunning”?—wraps it all together, giving a visual representation of the EP’s lyrical content, the whole package coming together just fine indeed, heart surgeries be damned.
“As for lyrics, Depressant is about the downfall of modern humanity, unworthy relationships, lack of empathy for ourselves, nature, animals… It’s also about anxiety and pain,” says Rokicki. “The cover fits perfectly with these themes. The lyrics and the cover art were made by Lukasz. I think he has done a great job again.”