This band was formed by John Wardlaw, Ruston and Mark Rumer several years ago. The musical style has changed quite a bit over the years, and with female vocalist Barbara Mosely taking over lead vocals, they've created a nice sound with gothic rock similarities to Evanescence and The Dreamside. This album is their third full-length release, all independantly recorded, produced and released by the band. This album has a nice broad range of styles within it's seventeen tracks spanning harder-edged goth metal pieces to dreamy ethereal interpretations.
We launch right into the nice mix of alternative, metal and gothic rock right off from the first pulsating beats of the album with "Dreamin in Metaphor" setting up the stage as an intro and bringing us right into a favorite alt goth rock piece "Let U In". This features Mosely's ethereal and melodic vocals over the driving beats and guitars and sets the stage for other captivating pieces along this style like the title track and later the down-tempo, but edgy piece "Rage" as well as a few others, though not as notable throughout the rest of the album. Like many of the great female-fronted goth-related bands along these genres lines, we are treated with a few sweet ethereal ballad-like masterpieces. "Rage", with it's edgy guitars could fall slightly under this genre, but "Deep" is the one that really brings this genre to life on this album with it's sweet melodic style with dreamy vocals. Later, "Little Things" also comes out in full force, not so much as an ethereal piece, but a nice female-fronted alternative rock style.
The first part of the album presents these types of female-fronted gothic rock and ethereal pieces in great style. As the album winds on we get a little bit of variety that breaks the mold and drifts more into a sort of alternative sound with bits of metal here and there and male vocals taking the lead. These include some great pieces, nice ballads like "Beautiful Babe" and the slightly cliche "Waita While" and later "Into the Rain" which is a little more like a metal ballad with a dark, moody emotional atmosphere. Besides these pieces, there are some interesting pieces, one that stands out is "Rose Of Love" which sounds a lot like something Oingo Boingo would do, or the instrumental psychadelic piece "Godzilla vs. Rodan". The album sort of wraps up with these types of pieces with "Damage in the Dream" standing out as more of the typical album style of female-fronted, downtempo ethereal metal piece.
This album doesn't fall strictly into the gothic-related genres, but it has a great style and great variety for a broad audience appeal. We recommend it for fans of the more alternative and pop goth bands like Evanescence, but fans of the goth-metal arena should also enjoy it quite a bit.
Anti-M's "Damage" is one of those CDs that will keep you guessing. As the album progresses, you'll hear sounds along the lines of the haunting Evanescence, the avant-garde crooning and song style of David Bowie, the digital sounds of Tangerine Dream, the guitar-heavy film scores of Goblin ... and many others. But it isn't the individual sounds you'll find so intoxicating, it's the combination thereof.
It's to this band's credit that they work so well together, allowing the right particular talent to shine at the right time to make each song soar. And the musicianship throughout is amazing, from Barbara's ethereal voice to the nearly Satriani-esque guitar solos to the excellent, crystal clear production.
Many tracks are perhaps a bit too mild for many Rough Edge readers but with 17 tracks to choose from, there's bound to be something on this CD that will grab your attention.
Anti-M is a California electronica band formed by keyboardists John Wardlaw, Ruston, and Mark Rumer (who's no longer with the band). Before you dismiss this review as being off-topic, their latest release Damage marks a significant shift in style for Anti-M. It seems that while he was writing Damage, Wardlaw had been listening to some heavy music by outfits such as Godsmack, Lacuna Coil, and Evanescence. Inspired, he recruited singer Barbara, and guitarist Jon to provide Anti-M with a heavier, Gothic Rock oriented sound. The result is a perceptible shift from their previous albums, but only slightly so. The progressive, synthesized elements remain entrenched but there are enough points of interest to catch the attention of open-minded rock and metal fans.
The most distinctive thing about Damage, from a rock/metal perspective, is the voice of Barbara. She can easilty hold her ground with such notable metal maidens as Lotta Höglin (Beseech), Anette Blyckert (Nightwish), and Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes, Theatre of Tragedy), though she appears to be a relative newcomer. She handles a slight majority of the vocal duties on the album, with her best performance coming on the ambient ballad "Deep". The track is keybaord heavy, but Jon delivers a stirring solo to go along with Barbara's warm vocals. The following track, "Rage", has a distinctly Loreena McKennitt feel to it, with some Middle Eastern styled guitar leads and a mesmerizing, fairly complex solo. As good as both tracks are, they're by no means metallic or even rockish. The very early stages of Damage, songs "Let U In" and the title track, are the most up-tempo of the album and can be compared to late-'80s Lita Ford with their screeching leads, slightly subdued riffs, and layered vocals.
By the sixth track, "It's All Inside", Anti-M begins a palpable shift back to their earlier style of progressive/electronic rock. This song in particular is the first not to feature Barbara's welcoming voice, which makes for a bit of a jarring transition - not to mention the ballad sounds as if it should have been included on the Top Gun movie soundtrack. "Beautiful Babe", on the other hand, finds Slager doing an impressive Bowie impersonation with Barbara helping out on backing vocals. From this point on, Barbara returns only in supporting roles as the music continues to cultivate more of a New Wave sound than anything heavier, with "Into The Rain" being the best song from the latter half of the album. It's a soulful guitar-driven ballad, slightly reminiscent of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", with a strong, expansive solo from Jon. "Sixth Extinction" is notable for being the most progressive song by far, with intricate bass lines, somber piano passages, and complex guitar/keyboard solo interplay.
Damage is definitely not a metal album, and only at times is it a rock album. However, for metal and hard rock fans with eclectic listening tastes, the album does contain quite a number of intriguing moments and is certainly worth investigating further. Anti-M may not have made the leap from electronica to Gothic hard rock, but they're headed in the right direction and with Barbara remaining behind the mic the distance to that goal has been significantly reduced.
-Harvest Moom Music
Verdict: Diversity works
To fully appreciate this album you first have the know the history of Anti-M. The first album by the band was a surfing concept album called "No Waves In Hell" which seems to have been a none too serious attempt with the focus on electronic synth music but with quite a quirky mix of styles. For the second album the band went for a Depeche Mode approach with Ronnie Montrose on guitar helping the band to get more exposure. During the lead up to this third album John Wardlaw discovered female fronted goth rock bands such as Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and Evanescence and Barbara, who had guested on the second album, was asked to join as main vocalist. The band is completed by Jon on guitars, Ruston on keyboards, John Wardlaw on (guitars, bass, keyboards +) and Derek Poultney on drums and programming.
The references to female goth rock bands and the presence of Ronnie Montrose on a previous album certainly hint a rock affair, but the band haven't abandoned their past completely, which makes for a interesting journey through the album tracks.
"Dream in Metaphor" has a spoken vocal and Spanish guitar at the start before moving onto more determined guitars and a electronic programmed backing, which is the type of music you might expect on a guitar player's solo album. The female fronted goth style mentioned earlier takes over on the next couple of tracks - "Let U In" and "Damage".
When it comes to sheer beauty the winning track has got be "Deep" where Barbara's vocals simply shine. In contrast "Rage" has an epic middle eastern vibe. The relaxing "It's All Inside" changes pace and vocals to male. "Little Things" is a mid-tempo track that evokes thoughts of Suzanne Vega's Luka. The first time I listened to the next track "Beautiful Babe" I thought I had some sort of computer virus as David Bowie seemed to appear from nowhere. In fact, Anit-M feature 3 vocalists with the third one sounding very like Ziggy in his 80's Let Dance persona. "Waita While" is another chillout session from vocalist No. 2.
The reason I went into the band's past at the start of the review was because their electronic past surfaces on "Rose Of Love" and "Godzilla vs Rodan", especially the latter which is hardcore electronica.
"Into The Rain" moves things back into more of a rock vein as it builds up into a slow guitar workout. "Incineration" cranks up the guitars for a short instrumental. "Shiver" leads into the slow rock ballad "Damage In The Dream". As "The Sixth Extinction" get into full flight it seems like Tangerine Dream might have been an influence somewhere along the line. "No Kill I" seems like it is going to close the album with a Gary Numan/Kraftwerk electronic affair but the guitars take over, then Barbara's vocals cut in and the band rock their way to the end.
Quite a long journey at 70+ minutes and quite a diverse one. It seems like there is at least 3 different bands - electronic, female fronted goth & progressive instrumental rock - trying to grab my attention. When thrown togther in the melting pot that is Anti-M, the result is an interesting album that is well worth listening to.
A feeling of evanescence while trying to make illusory jumps from one goal to the next. Anti-M delivers the future by bringing a fusion of the past and present. Anti-M is an exhibition of different sounds fused by the will to reach an audience on a more profound level. Electronic sounds and dynamic keys, floating vocals, and driving guitar provide Anti-M with the arsenal to deliver the most damage. A spread of tracks guaranteed to hit the listener with profound yet primitively carnal desires. Sexy! “Dreaming in Metaphor” An eastern introduction that breaks down into a heavy driving western sound. From this dream like horizon listeners enter a world of infinite possibility. “Let U In” Ephemeral vocals that haunt and prophesize while an intense guitar squeals and wails an impending doom.
“Beautiful Babe” A funky new wave introduction with a driving beat. The vocals arranged and well spaced, giving a chilled-out feeling of the 80s.
-Ron Ingalla at Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion
Digging the new CD. I think my faves are Rage and Damage. My girlfriend likes Beautiful Babe the most. Love the woman's (Barbara) voice. Vocals are top notch.Strong work!
-Steve P (USA-Santa Maria)
DAMAGE 2008 I listened to every sample and the two alternate songs and read all the lyrics. I like the album very much so far. The female singer ( Barbara) has a very beautiful voice. On "Beautiful Babe" the David Bowie voice (Ruston) style-like is amazing !
DAMAGE 2008 The word is..........................Fantastic! I like Damage very much, it's also getting beter and better the more I play it (no surprises there). Having said that I usually know from the first spin if I am going to like it. Even my wife said "who's this", Anti M, "who", never mind, "I like it" she said, so it's official then!
Barbara's vocals are brilliant a cross between Sarah Mclaughlan and Enya, that's a compliment indeed.
Some great songs and lryics, the effort you guys put into this was well worth it, could well be a classic. "Into The Rain" hits the spot for me in that way. Any gigs planned? This has to go on the road.
-Alan T. (UK)
DAMAGE 2008 Your music is very good, beginning was misterious like the dark side of the moon.
DAMAGE 2008 Huge range of styles- I hear echoes of Led Zep, Bowie, Suzanne Vega, Nick Cave, a few others that escape me right now. Not to say the songs are just like those other artists, but bring them to my mind. I must also mention the harmony vocals. Subdued and understated but perfect! Adds so much to some of the songs! A great disc- nice artwork as well. Seems familiar but can't remember now.
-Scott S (USA)
DAMAGE 2008 Your song writing, arrangements and production are excellent. Barbara's voice is haunting and alluring.
-Mike H (USA)
DAMAGE 2008 Anti-M are from California, and that is where the sun is always supposed to shine. And while I was reviewing this cd, the sun was shining here in the UK, with temperatures into the mid 20's Celcius. This is not the Beach Boys, but sure is good music to chill out too on a nice summer's evening with a glass of wine or two. If I was to make comparisons, let's mix The Gathering and Pink Floyd, throw in a little Within Temptation and mix it up a bit. Then add a little electronica, and away we go. The vocals are shared between Barbara Mosely, Ruston and John Wardlaw. This is not metal, but it is pretty well produced atmospheric rock. I like most of the tracks on offer here, with 'Deep' possibly one of my faves, while 'Beautiful Babe' sounded a little like David Bowie. As I say, don't expect a full on aural assault, but nonetheless, it is well produced by the band and I like this offering.
(Reviewed by Dave). Ravenheart music (UK)
The actual review can be found on this page
DAMAGE 2008 "vocals are equally as beautiful as Amy Lee and the music is a far cry better!"
DAMAGE 2008 This is the 3rd full length by the Califonians ANTI-M.With a much
different approach on this one than the previous 2, the band really
knows how to mix up styles from past and present. With the experienced
talent of Jon and "Wedge" on guitars, this has some great
riffs and solos and done in a more "progressive rock" way which works well
with the synthetic backdrop and lush atmospheres on some tracks.
Theres some really cool instrumentals that are very prog. rock with
a new and updated sound of the 21st century".
Barbara provides the strong and melodic female vocals which
are the majority here. Standout tracks include "let u in" which can appeal
to the more electronic/gothic rock crowd, and damage", "deep" "damage in the dream" and "rage" all have a catchy/melodic sound to them as well."rose of love" has a harder "wedge" sound to it, and works great in the
diversity of the album as well.
Its a very enjoyable listen and doesn't bore for one moment...theres some
slower tracks, and some uptempo rockers, and overall some nice variety
that fans of newer and older rock/ new wave can enjoy."
-Tommy T.(Cyberage Radio/DSBP Records USA)
DAMAGE 2008 I LOVE this new disc (Damage) from Anti-M. I have about 10,000 CDs so for a disc to make it into regular rotation in my playlist is rare. The album moves me on a visceral level. Anti-M has a style that defies any one musical classification. A lot to appeal to a lot of people but they first have to find it. A lot of the music makes me think of a fusion of Ronnie Montrose and Evanescence. On my Ipod Anti-M is listed as industrial. Maybe the music is a little techno but for the most part I'd call it hard rock.
Even the cover is cool and predicts the emotion in the disc, spacy, dark, dreamy and of course damaged.
Since the music is hard to classify I thought I would break it down song by song. Here we go.
1 .Dreaming in Metaphor- Love the bass. A lot of tension builds here. Nice guitar work.
2. Let U In- Great vocals. Great riffs. A lot of radio potential.
3. Damage- A great rock song again with a lot of radio potential. Nice effects.
Finish is excellent. Harmony vocals outstanding.
4. Deep- A fabulous ballad and perhaps the most amazing vocals on the album by singer Barbara.
5. Rage- This song is an epic! Gives me the same feeling as "Kashmir". Great
guitar leads and nice harmony vocals.
6. It's All Inside- Very Bowie-esque. Keyboard work is a nice change of pace. Good guitars.
7. Little Things- Suzanne Vega meets techno with nice harmony vocals.
8. Beautiful Babe- Nice beat effects. Reminds me of "Let's Dance" by Bowie. Haunting guitars and a dark ending.
9. Waitia While- A great slow song. Like the keyboard work.
10. Rose of Love- Really nice intro. Cool beat. The most hopeful lyrics on the entire
disc. Reminds me of what I remember the older discs by Anti-m were like. Could be a club or dance track. Powerful guitars.
11. Godzilla VS Rodan- Great effects. Reminds me of a thunderstorm.
12. Into The Rain- Another song with a lot of radio potential. Deep despair here. Nice
use of harmony vocals. Like hard rock Leonard Cohen / Nick Cave.
13. Incineration- Good driving beat and radio potential.
14. Shiver- Haunting fragment. Like a dark bit from an Evanescence song.
15. Damage in the Dream- Upbeat rhythm with despair-filled lyrics. Very Darkwave or Goth (The Gathering).
16. THE SIXTH EXTINCTION - A long instrumental with a lot of different emotions here. Starts sad, ends up like something from "Strange Cargo" by William Orbit. I like it.
17. NO KILL I- A powerful closing track with a Great guitars on this one. the album then closes with a reprise of the song Deep which is just beautiful.
I love this disc!
-Scott S. USA
DAMAGE 2008 Sometimes I get to the point where I am just tired of listening to music, and I want to try something different. This album has a distinct crispness and elegance to it. It fits, like a comfortable pair of shoes, yet the songs are not just tired, cookie-cutter replicas of each other. Some tracks are instrumentals, some have a female vocalist, some have a male vocalist.The artwork underscores the mood. The music is dark, but also dreamlike. The production quality is really quite excellent. The band has something to say. Art is more important than just throwing another album out there.
An eclectic blend of instruments and genres. As I was listening to Dreaming In Metaphor, I took a double take-is that a didgeridoo!? Sure as hell. Different. Bold
-CB Stone USA
DAMAGE 2008 Satriani Meets William Orbit with a Bit of Bowie to Create a Masterpiece.
P Rock USA (to see the rest of this and other reviews check Damage on amazon.com)
ANTI-M: Positively Negative: 2005 Remaster
When I saw that Ronnie Montrose was involved in this project, I just had to check it out (even if IT totally alluded me in its original release). After all this time, I wasn't sure what to expect from Ronnie: Would it be hard rock, a la Montrose? Would it be spacey kinda pop like Gamma or kinda jazzy like some of his instrumental releases? About all I can say is this: I wasn't expecting what I got! Anti-M is John Wardlaw, Ruston, and Mark Rumer, a trio of retro-thinking futurists whose sound is very dark, not something that I would imagine Montrose would agree to playing. But... he did and the results are quite impressive! The imaginative hodge-podge that is POSITIVELY NEGATIVE was originally released in 1995; this ten year anniversary remaster features the original 17 tracks plus two bonus tunes, instrumental versions of "Security" and "Television." Trying to nail down a musical thread in Anti-M's music is like hunting for the proverbial needle in the hay stack: Just when you think that you can put your finger on a certain style ('80s New Wave Electronica, English Goth, '70s metal, '90s hard rock, English pop, etc. ad infinitum), it's gone. The music is generally dark and crushingly claustrophobic, kinda like mid-era Depeche Mode or most of Tangerine Dream's output (even the seemingly happy and innocuous tracks, like "Why" and "Rap This Around Your Head," have an underlying menace that sneaks up and gut-punches you). The vocals by Wardlaw (known to all and sundry as "Wedge") and Slager (and I'm not really sure who's singing on what... I think that the majority of the leads are taken by Slager, though) can best be described as a synthesization of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Peter Steele, Peter Murphy, Greg Lake, and that guy from Rammstein. The guitars are generally crisp and up-front, though the bass and synths seem to be the forces driving the music. With Montrose only appearing on four of the original tracks (plus the bonus material), that means that the guitar has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the supple fingers of Steve Weber who, though not an official member of Anti-M, also played on the group's debut, NO WAVES IN HELL; Wedge also adds guitar on several tracks. Trying to describe this release - other than to say that it is absolutely brilliant - has induced a headache the size of Nebraska, so I'm gonna quit trying, except to say this: I don't know if the guys in Anti-M are modern day visionaries or if they just got lucky with this record; whatever, POSITIVELY NEGATIVE is one of those rare beasts that should be in everyone's collection... no excuses! To secure your own copy of this musical masterpiece and to learn more about the band, go to the Anti-M web-site (www.anti-m.com). Do it now! We'll wait for you.
- Darren Tracy FLUSH Magazine
ANTI-M: No Waves In Hell- Predominantly a synths-based album, it features the odd song, short link narrative tracks, the occasional electric and electrifying guitar solos, spooky voices buried in the depths, some mighty flowing lead synth lines from the three musicians and a staggering 21 tracks in sixty-eight minutes. The mood of the album is pretty varied from intense multi-synth darkwave flows of warming music through more delicate refrains from guitar and the massive synthbank that surrounds and envelops the mix, to the D.Mode style songs, on one of the strangest albums I've heard in ages. Like it? I'll tell you in three or four plays timeâ.maybe.
Andy Garibaldi-CD Services