Raw Despair and Infinite Joy: Review of De La Quimera, El Dolor by Antier
Call it what you will, but the elements are a big influence on my choice of music. There’s something about playing a band like Earthless at high volume as you scream down a desert highway in the middle of July. The long, scorching moment calls for that kind of music.
For a while, the atmosphere in Boise was pushing me toward a colder sound. But, because winter’s now as appealing as an icicle prostate exam, isolating music has lost it’s appeal, and I’m searching for something that breaks through the grey.
Lately, I’ve found excellent post-rock from Spain that helps tear down the melancholy igloo and melt the hockey rink streets. This week, Antier showed up in my Bandcamp searches. Antier, out of Barcelona, Spain, describes their album De La Quimera, El Dolor as “the emotional result to the loss of a broken dream.” They go on to state the album has a “hopeful start, but as it continues, despair and weakness appear and develop until the end.”
Laws yes! That describes the long winter solstice here in Boise to the letter!
But, let's hold that description for a moment.
Music, like a fine wine, bourbon or scotch, can hit your sensory neurons like a million-pound locomotive traveling at high rate of speed, or touch your ears so softly that it evokes an emotion that you thought was long dead. A song can shock and overwhelm you, and sometimes if you let an album mellow and breathe for a bit, you can hear it again from a completely different perspective.
De La Quimera, El Dolor is that freight train, and it is that soft sound. There are thousands of prisms you can look through to see this album. It’s incredibly complex and layered, just like a fine Kentucky mash; quite frankly, you’ll need some quality headphones to pick up all the nuances in the songs.
Now, I want to give another disclaimer before we move forward: I’m a Yankee, and my Spanish consists of ordering tacos, another round of beer and counting to 20.
The first song on the album, 'Nada Está Escrito', goes over 2 minutes without lyrics. I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental music lately, so, I assumed it was going to be an instrumental album.
When the Spanish spoken word hits, it almost doesn’t fit. I listened to the first song, and then had to step back from the album for a few hours. It needed to breathe, and I needed to figure out what emotions Antier was going to awaken.
But now? After week of listening to the album, the vocals are an old friend. We’ve learned to understand each other, but it was a slow process.
Let’s jump back to the band's themes of “raw despair” and the “loss of a broken dream.” I didn’t get that vibe from this album, but I have a theory as to why.
It’s the minor chords and riffs that feel a bit sad at times, but then the song shifts and explodes to push the dark clouds away to reveal a brilliant sunshine. The singer is the broken dream. He’s speaking, and sometimes screaming, to the world about his weakness, and at times he can see the sky break and clouds lift, only to be slammed back into his depths for whatever reasons he feels so broken.
That hit an emotion for me: sometimes, no matter how bright the sky, that heavy coat of despair and sadness is far to heavy to lift from your shoulders. But, if you can take just a second to shake the despair, the coat magically leaves your body.
If you’re in a strange emotional state, you’re going to love where this album takes you. Or, if you ever wanted to put At The Drive-In, Explosions in the Sky, a quarter turn of Fair to Midland and a dash of Dredg all in a blender and see what happens, then you should check out Antier.
Best part? It’s a free download on Bandcamp. Yes, a legal, free download of first-class music. Lars Ulrich can’t sue you. Plus, you’ll feel good for supporting independent musicians who don’t benefit from the radio. This is a triple-win for you as we enter into Trump’s America.
You can download Antier's album by clicking here, and you can connect with them on Facebook. Also, my Bandcamp playlist is always available for you to listen to. It's a trillion times better than your radio dial.