Vinyl Vlog 488

Vinyl Vlog 488

Friday, 05 March 2021
‘Trouble’ from Kings by Antagonizers Atl.

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the Kings LP by Antagonizers Atl. While it is far from un-tread terrain, it’s impossible to not get excited by the promise contained in the grooves of Kings – Antagonizers’ sophomore full-length album. This time out, the band has allowed the gang chorus/gang vocal power in them to build and season for a while before unloading it in a set of ten slabs which ignore the now long-worn costume that punk rock has become and simply presented what is in them to release; ten cuts of thick and meaty working class punk.

…And with no build up whatsoever, the band simply begins unloading from the second “Worries” opens the A-side of Kings. There, with hands clapping with the beat to help keep the rhythm and an absolutely gorgeous keyboard in the gunner seat, singer Bohdan Zacharyj and guitarists Richard Henderson and Eric Antell command attention as Zacharyj stomps out and starts issuing salvos like, “I’m a backstreet fighting, no bull surviving son/ My will at full throttle, never back down and never run/ Days fly by pressure builds and I’ve been spun/ Never change the past of what’s done is done/ It’s done!” with the authority of a lieutenant who has already bled through a few tours of duty.

Now, some listeners might find that opening off-putting, but those of the right mind – those who already know they may just die with their boots on – will find that this opening cut takes a direct route to their collective soul. Antagonizers Atl. have their attention, all the band needs to do is not slip on a banana peel to keep it.

As the album progresses, Antagonizers Atl. illustrate that they’re more than capable of holding the advantage they won with “Worries,” although they bring a few friends along to help out as well. As soon as “Worries” lets out, for example, Noi!se singer Matt Henson gets in on Antagonizers’ game and donates a truly excellent vocal take to “Black Clouds,” before stepping back to let the band get into a whole lot of raucous “Trouble” all on their own before crowning themselves “Kings” of their community (as, let’s be honest, we knew they would) and then making a speed-crazed run for the end of the side with “No Rest For The Wicked.” Now, some critic somewhere may balk and complain that Antagonizers Atl. aren’t really breaking any ground here, they’re literally just running through the motions of well-honed and established punk themes. There is a grain of truth in that – but the catch is that they’re doing it so well and nobody else has come close in years – so this taste will have listeners salivating for a second side.

…And listeners will find precisely what they want when they begin the B-side. “Believe” opens the running with a powerhouse which is adorned with a surly, speedy gang vocal and leaves the doors blown off to ensure that the band can get back in with Monty Neysmith of Symarip in tow for “Hold On Hold Strong,” and then comes damned close to re-writing the same song again (the chord progression and rhythm both feel pretty similar) but with Chris Doherty of Gang Green along for the ride through “Problems.” There again, those of a mind to complain will have open field to do so, but those who were already won by the angle taken by the album aren’t likely to be swayed. By then, they’ll have long known that they’re in for the long haul and know why.

As the B-side reaches its late-playing, it does need to be conceded that “Marching On” feels like one same-y slab too many (it comes too close to blending into the background, really), but Antagonizers Atl. manage to resolve that problem with the great and worrisome explosion of “Us Against The World,” which closes the side and the album. There, Zacharyj stands tall and defiant with his back against the wall while bassist Wynn Pettitt actually gets a little more nimble in his bass performance than he has been anywhere else on the album, with great results. In fact, is an absolutely infectious assault which will leave listeners who ran front-to-back with Kings energized instead of drained. It’s a perfect conclusion to what has already been the best street punk album this critic has heard in a few years; sure, with the proliferation of reissued vinyl albums release recently, street punk has proven not to be in any danger of being forgotten, but Kings is great because it stands tall on its own and makes some new myths. That is definitely something we need more of – so here’s hoping that both Antagonizers Atl. and Kings are just the tip of the spear. [Bill Adams]


Kings is out now. By it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.

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