ANTAGONIST (not to be confused with Antagonist A.D. from New Zealand) is a band from Whittier, California that plays a blend of metalcore and thrash metal. They have been around for 16 years now, and are about to release new material for the first time in 5 years. During that time, they were dropped from Prosthetic Records and have not toured in order to focus on their personal lives. But now, they are back with a vengeance. Their new EP, simply titled Antagonist, is a 6-song collection that runs just under 20 minutes. The music has a notable change from their past releases. It sounds more punk than ever. It is stripped down and there is a lack of melody when compared to albums such as Exist and An Envy Of Innocence. It sees the anger from their previous release, World In Decline, and continues it in more condensed songs. There is a focus on speed, as seen in Hate and Violence, and on groove, as seen in Dejection and Extermination. Tyranny is the first song to have the guitar harmonies that were so prevalent and memorable in the band’s early material before a slow and heavy riff towards the end of the song. Finally, the EP finishes off with Scorn, which contains an extremely slow and heavy riff, which is perfect for headbanging. The vocals during the breakdown section of this song are handled by Jon Parker, vocalist of Zombie Eating Horse, which is a band that drummer Orlando (Lond) Garcia also plays for. The EP is full of angry lyrics that directly point to recent events in the news, great guitar solos, chants that are sure to become fan favorites during live concerts, and tight musicianship from every member of this four piece. My only complaint with this release is that it goes by really fast. After 5 years of waiting for a new release, 20 minutes of music just does not cut it like a full release would have. However, it is definitely a treat to see something new come from this young and talented group. Hopefully this release will help give the band some newly found momentum.