New Band Of The Day – ANTA

ANTA describe themselves as a “monster prog quartet”, something that’s an undeniable truth. However if you’re foolish enough to think that’s reason to avoid them then you’re much mistaken as they’re one hell of a brilliant live band. They’re heading off out on tour in a couple of weeks. Scroll down to the foot of the page & if they’re at a venue near you make sure you attend.

It’s been slowly dawning on me over the course of the last year or so that we’re experiencing a bit of what I can only describe as a “progressive rock renaissance”. Maybe you’ve known this for ages, but it’s certainly something that’s only recently come to my ken. I’ve got to be honest & admit that in the past I’ve kind of been guilty of if not exactly looking down my nose at prog rock at least avoiding it where possible (I like to think subconsciously but in truth probably consciously a little bit too). But cogs have been creaking in my mind & slowly the way I regard prog rock has changed, such that I’ve now raised the genre in my mental “styles of music to take seriously & actively seek out” list to a position way higher than it’s ever been before. Never again will I consider prog rock to be that tiresome thing that punk did it’s best, forlornly, to destroy. Because it just so happens that contemporary prog is really rather splendid.

Rather soon after this paradigm shift in my basic assumptions regarding prog I received an email from Alex ANTA (who you may know of – he’s the organist in the live incarnation of DROKK) who explained he was trying to raise the profile of his band, a band who he described as “an exaggerated monster prog quartet”. “Hmmm” I thought, & reflected on what I’ve just related to you in paragraph 1. I’d been hearing good things about ANTA for some time & despite having wanted to see them live I’d sadly always missed them. Happily I have seen them live now, supporting Bardo Pond (& the excellent The Pirate Ship Quintet who you should check out) a couple of weeks ago & y’know what? Well, two things. Firstly, yep, they were definitely awfully proggy (no false advertising claim there) but more to the point & reinforcing what an oaf I’ve been in the past, they were also rather, awfully good.

Paradigm…. Well and truly…. Shifted.

ANTA released their debut album, “The Tree That Bears The Equine Fruit” back in 2010, which was also when they properly knuckled down & got serious about the band. They consist of what I guess is pretty much the classsic arrangement for a band of their ilk; drums, bass, synth / organs and guitar. Live they are a force of nature, taking you on one of those fanatastical journeys that only the most competant & skilled of live bands can take you on. And the best thing about the journey is that it’s fun. That’s the thing with fun, it’s infectious, if the band are obviously having a good time then it follows that you’ll probably have a good time too. And they were. So we did. They’re also one of the most ‘in sync’ bands I’ve seen for a while, such that the impression from the audiences POV is that rather than being a fourpiece they’re just one great driving compelling beast, something incredibly hard for a band to achieve because it’s something that’s innate, this ‘at one’ dynamic between band members is either there or it’s not, it isn’t something that can be manufactured. Everyone needs to be in harmony, all striving for the same end result.

ANTA’s sound is large (they say so themselves on their various online homes & it’s really not something that can be argued with), but what they don’t say is that it’s large in a grandiose way rather than large in a ‘banging your head against a wall’ way (which is something any fool can do). Live, ANTA’s ‘large’ builds throughout their set, it’s not immediately identifiable as a ‘large’ sound but suddenly, without realising it you find that the room you’re in is full of this organic ANTA beast. An intelligent, thoughtful band, they also retain an accessibility that may not be immediately obvious but is still there – you’ll realise this later when their songs are still bumbling round your head. They don’t try to be too clever & make things too difficult or obscure for the listener. This is obviously a good thing.

Another thing I’ve started regarding differently recently is the humble riff. Ever since the review I did of Pariso’s album I’ve been embracing riff’s more & more enthusiastically. Straight after seeing ANTA play I wrote on my Tumblr that their set consisted of “great crunching layered riffs on great crunching layered riffs”, something I now consider to be, in part, utter bollocks – the crunching bit anyway. I’ll stick with the “great layered riffs on great layered riffs” bit. Wicked guitar work anyway. The bass playing is especially brilliant & keeps the band chugging along. And the drumming was exceptional too, one of the most wonderfully kinetic exhibitions of such that I’ve seen for a while, it was just about the most literal exhibition of someone putting their all into a performance that I think I’ve seen for some time, something that was confirmed when immediately after the bands set said drummer crashed on one of the venues settee’s next to me, utterly exhausted. Needless to say the organ playing’s pretty top notch too, as you’d expect from someone who’s obviously won the Geoff Barrow / Ben Salisbury seal of approval.

ANTA are a serious band, a bunch of guys who’re commited to their art. You should really endeavour to check them out soon, preferably live on one of the dates below.

Sun 26th: Fat Out Fest @ Islington Mill, Manchester
Facebook event page here.
Mon 27th: Big Spaceship @ Santiago’s, Leeds
Facebook event page here.
Tues 28th: Kneel Before Zod @ The Chameleon, Nottingham
Facebook event page here.
Wednesday 29th: Behind The Wall Of Sleep @ Mello Mello, Liverpool
Facebook event page here.
Friday 31st: Green Park Tavern, Bath w/Fairhorns 
No Facebook Event Page Yet
Saturday 1st: Cube Cinema, Bristol w/Knifeworld¬¬
Facebook event page here.
ANTA recently did an interview with Bearded Magazine, if you’d like to hear what they had to say in their own words hie thee hither.
ANTA are on Facebook here & Twitter as @ANTAmusic. They also have music you can listen to on their Bandcamp page (old) and Soundcloud page (new – see above).
They also have an actual website too which you can find here.

All words Guy Manchester. More words by Guy can be read here. He tweets as @guid0man & uses Tumblr.


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