Whilst the UK hasn’t always been recognised as a hotbed for Black Metal bar the occasional, exceptional case; recent times suggest the burgeoning of a rich scene in the underground; from the likes of A Forest Of Stars getting wide plaudits to the new breed which includes Wode, Underdark and Dawn Ray’d flying the flag. Also throwing their hat into the ring, Nottingham up-and-comers Antre offer a somewhat esoteric and widely influenced strain of the genre with a full-length debut that not only personifies the depth the genre has to offer but also puts them as a prime force in the UK’s scene.
At its heart, Void (Withered Hand) is an intense and rage-filled entity and is fuelled by the typical high pace the genre is known for. With a penetrating and foreboding atmosphere which seeps through whatever the album does, down to the cold, icy screams, Patrick MacDonald is unafraid to venture in more theatrical and pained delivery akin the Akercocke and the aforementioned A Forest Of Stars.
It is in the variations in delivery that Void begins to stand out, managing to add a depth to their palette without sounding jarringly obvious or forced. Where album opener ‘Suffer The Light’ is a twisted and drawn out number which veers between paces beneath a haunting tone, recent single ‘Tyrant’ is much more succinct and fits more into a Death Metal and Thrash arena, whilst ‘Denisovan’ adds a respiting Folk ambience which still ties in with the overarching darkness and melancholy.
Whilst it is easy to pinpoint elements of influence throughout the album, Antre do execute a wide range together and thus are shaping a niche of their own, if it is a little rough and undefined at this early stage there is still plenty of wealth and strong songwriting on display here.
UK Black Metal is on the rise, but it’s a scene that is still in its infancy even with the likes of Dawn Ray’d deservedly sky-rocketing, and thus the fact that Void isn’t quite the finished article as of yet isn’t to damn them, as it is still a mighty and formidable record with plenty of imagination and diversity. Antre do plenty right in this early stage, and Void is very much recommended, with the caveat that their best is still to come.
6 / 10