Overall Score: 6/10 Consistency: 7/10 Memorable Songs: 5/10 Grooves: 8/10 Pros: Consistent | The band sounds years ahead of their age Cons: Unoriginal | No real stand out tracks
For those who worship the southern rock infused metal stylings of Pantera and the whole New Orleans circle of the 1990s, there may not have been much in the way of new music to truly look forward to in recent years. While Down have more or less carried off where Pantera left off and hardcore punk bands such as Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die have drawn from southern rock influence, there have been no southern rock bands to have really burst out of the scene.
That’s where Anti-Mortem come in. Their unashamedly American musical stylings are a refreshing battle cry for the re-emergence of the genre, carrying plenty of tight grooves for good measure – even if this isn’t exactly anything new and doesn’t do much to bring any true standout hits.
Anti-Mortem are a fairly young and new act but they sound at least 10 years older than you may first think, with the songwriting sounding as if written by accomplished veterans. The title track, “New Southern” and its follow up “100% Pure American Rage” are unashamed pure American hard rock and have that plodding groove which would get every fan in the crowd headbanging in unison. Acoustic moments are thrown in here and there to provide the odd slight change of pace, “Black Heartbeat” and being a brilliant example of this, if a little bit close to the Nickelback sound of yesteryear (same applies to “Path To Pain”).
With all this said, there is not really much to this album if you’re not a hard southern rock fan. The band wears its influences on its collective sleeve, with a very strong Pantera vibe in some areas, and does little to deviate from the core sound of the album, while the lyrics present your generic southern rock tropes. The main changes from this formula are in “Black Heartbeat” and “Ride Of Your Life” which show the slower and faster sides of the band, respectively. It’s easy for one to argue that once you’ve listened to the first half the album, you’ve already heard the rest of it. One would hope that this young band can carve their own sound out in this scene, but it’s still a much needed injection of young blood to the genre.
Anti-Mortem’s New Southern is out now on Nuclear Blast Entertainment, an offshoot from the legendary Nuclear Blast Records.