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Aural Pleasure: ANTI-MORTEM's 'New Southern'


New Southern / ANTI-MORTEM / Nuclear Blast / *** 1/2


Exploding out your speakers from Chickasha, Oklahoma is the newest addition to Nuclear Blast Entertainment: ANTI-MORTEM. The release of their debut album New Southern is a huge bang to the head with a mature, raw sound from the youngsters. With every member between the ages of 18 and 22, this band brings heavy metal with southern and country influences. In the band’s weaning years, ANTI-MORTEM practiced on a stage that the band built inside guitarist Zain Smith’s family barn, shaping the grittier feel of Pantera meets Black Stone Cherry (according to the band’s website).

The infusion of groove, metal, melody, killer guitar solos, grungy vocals, a pinch of country and a southern feel makes up New Southern, a fist to the face of American mainstream. It’s an album with the angst and lyrics of a pissed-off southerner and a big sound that makes your hair fly backwards as you face the stereo.

Larado Romo has a unique voice that can be just as gritty as Philip Anselmo from Pantera. A great initial song to set the tone of the album, the title track starts with Larado singing over a guitar that gives the song an old country or Southern vibe.

The statement of “I get along with the Devil, but I hate that motherfucker,” can be an anthem to persons of many genres in the heavy track, “I Get Along with the Devil.” The metal-ness of “Path to Pain,” the anthem-like “Wake Up,” and the groove-based “Ride of your Life,” is almost overwhelming by the time Larado starts off the groove-laden “Stagnant Water” and “Truck Stop Special,” each with great guitar solos.

ANTI-MORTEM (which derives from the Latin word, “Ante mortem,” meaning “before death”) is a slap in the face for metal-heads that crave singing efforts from a singer rather than album-long growling vocals of other contemporary metal vocalists.

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