Anyone still equating prog with biting into a turd sandwich should try chowing down on some of the medieval space rock that ANTA dish up. Though it’s true this Bristol band tick some pretty unfashionable boxes – mystical, twiddly keyboard swathes; eight minute songs with unwieldy titles; the vague suspicion capes are involved in the recording process – ANTA also pile on heavy bass and electric guitar crunch, horror film dynamics and a blasting sense of purpose. Being an instrumental band they also benefit from not having a singer who thinks he’s a wizard with his balls in a mangle. Live, ANTA kick it totally by playing low, slow and at floor rupturing volume. On this fine five song album they build tall towers of sound and make it feel like a fucking blast.
Obviously, it opens with a gong. But ‘Abyssal Ibis’ soon disgorges a massive four note sawtooth organ riff, beaten at every step by hammer hard drums. It’s a great progzilla that struts heavily, lurching sideways, guitars flaring off it, before church organ swells and slows everything down to blissful, last-song-off-the-Rangda-album levels. ‘Needling Seemaw’ tops it though, in length and varied rock thrills: Oneida-style blinking keyboard lights flit in and out as guitar and drums loom in and out menacingly. The moment four minutes in, when everything converges into a heads down hefty riff, weird ultra-metallic cymbals crashing, deserves space in a trophy cabinet. A two song breather – some cloudy guitar drone, some nice piano-played-amongst-the-wreckage a la Godspeed You! Black Emperor – before ‘Apical Dominance’s parting shot: a lumbering beast of riffs locked in and out of, sci-fi keyboard noises, and a mad, atonal, anxiety chord chucked in at regular intervals. It’s sweeeet, especially the false ending that fires out flattening slow motion power chords. Grandiose, weighty and satisfying, ‘The Tree That Bears The Equine Fruit’ is a direct rock hit, and you should let it take over your head.