Ante Up - See You In Hell CD
Detroit. A forgotten wasteland that experienced the recession years before the rest of the world and has continued to have the shit piled on since. There is a general feeling of gloom present that lingers on every street corner, down every alleyway, and inside all the abandoned houses. This presence has turned to anger in its inhabitants that has resulted in some very vicious, raw, and real music as an outlet. Cold As Life were the originators and Tyrant picked up where they left off. Hell even the hip-hop from the D is full of rage. Regardless, Tyrant remains relatively inactive in the past few years so it’s been some time coming before someone could step up to the plate and deliver in a way the city has been known for in the past. Enter Ante Up.
Although they were around years ago, broke up, and then reformed again a few years later, their new full length, See You In Hell, should serve as a the real introduction for the band. I’m not about to say their past material was bad but it wasn’t very refined. Outside of founding members Critter and Matt, their ex-member list could rival their song count. However, in See You In Hell, they finally have things settled and it shows as this material is leaps and bounds the best stuff they’ve ever put to record. On the very first listen I found myself saying “Man, this really sounds like early Hatebreed”. Beefed up punk riffs, chugalug breakdowns, and an intense mid-toned vocal delivery of heartfelt lyrics about depressing subject matters, it was all there. However, on subsequent listens I found there to be a lot more diversity than originally thought. In those beefed up punk riffs, I hear something very west coast, something very similar to what Lionheart is doing. The breakdowns remind me of what Shattered Realm was doing on their Broken Ties, Spoken Lies record. There is a sense of urgency to get to these parts but they flow naturally, and much like the titans from North Jersey, they have a great knack of doing the concluding 4 measures of the breakdown slower and more menacing. The drumming even has something very New Jersey about it as well. Bands like Fury Of Five, Redline, and NJ Bloodline always had some hip-hop like drumming behind their punk/hardcore guitars. Ante Up’s drummer, Justin, must come from that same school of thought because there is such a pop and flow to his beats that I’m almost surprised that there wasn’t a hip-hop guest vocalist on this; it would have worked.
Another thing that separates See You In Hell from anything the band has done previously is the production. Recording in Detroit and eventually getting the material to New Jersey’s Len Carmichael for mixing/mastering, is just what the doctor ordered. Unlike some of the just better than demo sounding material from the past, this sounds professional and really gives all elements of the band their best showcase they deserved. The drums sound big without drowning out the rest of the instruments, the guitars have bite, and that bass tone…woo baby that sounds glorious. All the guest vocals (featuring Ziggy from Objection, Martin from No Turning Back, and Pierre from Knuckledust) were clearly recorded in other areas of the country and other parts of the world, but they are all mixed perfectly to sound like everything was done in one area. Sometimes when you have people recording parts all over the place, no matter how hard they try, you can tell the difference. Not here.
Beatdown hardcore seems to be a thing of the past these days. When it comes to heavy hardcore people either want it metal or more in vain of d-beat/grind. It’s been a long time since the glory days of when Hatebreed, Irate, and Bulldoze ruled the roost. Bands today have watered down this subgenre by adding too much metallic noodling, slipping into deathcore territory, or by adding other assorted nonsense like nu-metal licks. Beatdown also always had a bit of truth to their music and the sound fit. When Fury Of Five told you they were going to take respect, they did it. Ask Coal Chamber and Sevendust. With Ante Up, the message is believable and the music remains true to its foundation. It’s still hardcore just heavier. There aren’t any tricks to be pulled.
See You In Hell is out on Filled With Hate Records in July and you should not pass on this. If you have been looking for an album to get rowdy with, this should certainly be up your alley. Check out the song Guilty on their page on this site now and bring the ruckus.