Antiquus

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Antiquus
Origin Vancouver, Canada
Genres Power metal
Progressive metal
Years active 2000-present
Labels Independent
Cruz Del Sur
Members Andrew Bak
Scott Unger
Jesse White
Toshi Osawa
Past members Geoff Way
Trev Leonard,
Jeff Dormer
Dave Priban

Antiquus /æntikz/ is a Canadian power metal band from Vancouver, British Columbia. Music composed by the band combines many different styles of metal into a unique fusion that is most closely likened to Power Metal, while being reasonably progressive as well. In their own words, "Far from the mainstream, Antiquus draws upon the roots of metal to create its signature sound - aggressive, melodic, intelligent. Clean, strong vocals and complex story-telling lyrics set against a sonic canvas of harmony guitars, edgy bass lines and punchy drumming."[1] Antiquus as a band doesn't concern over incorporating popular characteristics of current music into their sound. They'd rather develop their distinct sound even if it doesn't get them fans from the mainstream audience. Their albums often involve concept stories that run for the bulk of the recording. Often albums incorporate many different styles of playing to develop the concept, including acoustic interludes, or instruments not normally present in metal such as Sitar. The band is known for their unique sound, experimental in the manner that it combines many different styles of metal, while incorporating styles that are well established. In Canada, as with USA, classic heavy metal and melodic metal have been overshadowed by more recent extreme metal forms. Antiquus demonstrates in their music that they can bring together less prominent styles of metal in North America and build something new. The current lineup in the band consists of bassist Scott Unger, drummer Andrew Bak, guitarist Toshi Osawa, and vocalist Jesse White.[1] The name Antiquus is drawn from the Latin word for ancient. In an interview with Fast Forward Weekly, Antiquus member Andrew Bak clarified their goals. "We never decided to do one particular style of metal or take one particular approach. The songwriting and the sound we have really just came out of the chemistry, everything that we did was something that developed because of the personalities that we have and the level that we are at."[2]

The band started in 2000, although not much is known about their early years, since they tend to avoid interviews. In 2004, the band members consisted of Jeff Dormer and Dave Priban on guitar, Andrew Bak on drums, Jesse White doing vocals, and Scott Unger on bass. With this lineup they recorded their first album, Ramayana, which was released independently in 2005. Sometime between the release of their first album and 2006, both of their guitarists were replaced by new members Trev Leonard and Geoff Way. In 2006 they recorded and released their second album, Eleutheria.[3] In 2011 they released their 3rd album, In the Land of the Blind, with their most recent guitarist Toshi Osawa.[1]

Antiquus with their Eleutheria lineup toured as openers for bands such as D.O.A, Into Eternity and Sonata Arctica.[4] Their albums have been well received by reviewers, however fan recognition of the band is low due to the general lack of popularity of the style in North America.

They are currently on a hiatus due to lack of a record label.

Biography[edit]

Formation, Ramayana(2000-2005)[edit]

Antiquus formed in 2000, working to bring together a coherent group of musicians to produce their first album. The original members of the group, Andrew Bak, Jeff Dormer and Scott Unger, recruited Dave Priban to play second guitar, along with Jesse White doing vocals. Ramayana was released in 2004. Reviews were generally positive, some even saying Ramayana was one of the best progressive metal albums to come out of Canada. Ramayana was a concept album, the bulk of the album retells the story Ramayana from ancient Hindu lore. A single song on the album told the story of the Battle of Eylau.[5]

Eleutheria(2006-2010)[edit]

In 2005 Antiquus recruited two new guitarists, Trev Leonard and Geoff Way. With this lineup they recorded their second album Eleutheria. Eleutheria was released under Italian label Cruz Del Sur.[6] The album once again contains a concept story that runs for the bulk of the album. The story told involves a captain of a vessel exploring and discovering new lands for his monarch king. Eleutheria is an ancient term for freedom, which is a theme of the album. This album could be more easily associated with power metal than their initial album, as such meaning the album was more accessible while landing them tour options with popular power metal bands such as Sonata Arctica. Reviews stated the album took some time to absorb, due to the nature of the band's varying sound. The lyrics being especially important to the experience in this album, many reviewers thoroughly enjoyed the album after developing an understanding of the story. The band recorded Eleutheria at Larry Anschell's Turtle Recording. Larry, who has worked with many groups, including Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, mixed the album. Eleutheria was mastered in Gothenburg, Sweden by Goran Finnberg, who has worked on projects for In Flames and Soilwork, amongst many others.[7]

In the Land of the Blind(2011-present)[edit]

In 2009/2010 Antiquus began to work on their third album with new guitarist Toshi Osawa, initially under their previous label. The label decided to part ways during recording, however band members forged on in order to release a completed album. They released In the Land of the Blind in 2011. Although there is no direct connection between songs like the tales that were told on their previous albums, most songs can be connected to the stories of men who tried to assassinate US presidents such as Charles Guiteau or Samuel Byck. In keeping with a theme of the mindset of a man who attempted to assassinate the US President, the songs portray these men as fostering erroneous delusions of grandeur, distortions of reality, feelings of alienation and doubt towards capitalistic society. Considering the assassins to be ultimately forces of destruction, the overall message is therefore a declaration of the harmful, and essential fallacy behind socialist and collectivist ideology, from which each assassin springs.

Recent[edit]

Antiquus is currently on hiatus, due to the loss of their label during recording of their third album. They intend to record if they secure another record label to work under. Recently they recorded a cover of "Still Life" by Iron Maiden, on the album Two Minutes To Midnight: A Millenium Tribute to Iron Maiden.[1]

Style and Influences[edit]

A clip from the first track on In the Land of the Blind illustrates Antiquus's style of play.

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According to the band's Facebook page, the band is fond of the following groups: Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Queensryche, Rising West, Dio, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nightwish. The influence of Iron Maiden[8] is especially apparent in their vocalist, whose voice is often compared to Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. The drummer, Andrew Bak, says “We borrowed a lot from Maiden; the harmonized leads, galloping bass lines, soaring vocals…” The progression is clear and the deep themes of many of the lyrics in their recordings bring the band closer to the style of Power Metal. The band defines their own genre as "Metal, with elements of Traditional, Power, Prog, Doom, Thrash and NWOBHM." The name Antiquus itself means ancient in Latin, which lends to their moniker as a Power Metal band that conceptualizes ancient/epic stories.

Members[edit]