This Devil Is Them sounds dangerous. The guitars are excessively distorted, and with each unnatural riff – a nasty, exorcism spasm of contorted body, decorated with little bleeds of plectrum noise, octaver and pinch harmonic – the band feel close to breaking themselves, puncturing skin with broken bone. Movement is brisk and panicked; nothing is dwelled upon, and vocals and drums tumble between phrases with a fidgety unrest, filling moments of quiet with a quivering anticipation and riding the surges of noise as though reacting to a particularly potent defibrillation.
But while the above may create a preconception of the record as a rickety and unstable rock record, the skewed shapes actually form the part of a rather symphonic whole. Moments of climax carry a certain operatic pomposity and major key celebration, while there’s more than a whiff of slick nu-metal to the alternation between limping rap verse and exasperated chorus on “Phony Tough”. But it’s not during the moments of strength that Antlered Man produce their finest sounds; rather, it’s when everything feels loose and ready to detonate, leaving the band in a state of impulsive panic that lays waste to their tendency toward polish and symmetry.