Canadian heavy metal band Antioch released their latest album on the 8th of August entitled Antioch IV – Land of No Kings.
It won’t be a surprise, with that title, but it’s their 4th album following Antioch III – Wings and Warlocks which came out in 2017. Antioch formed in 2013 releasing their debut EP one year later. Since then they have added 3 full lengths and a single to their output.
Antioch are lovers of all things traditional citing influences like Judas Priest, Manowar, Iron Maiden and Accept. It certainly comes through in Land of No Kings. If someone told me this album was released back in 1983 or 84, I wouldn’t hesitate in believing them.
There are 9 tracks on Land of No Kings and they total around 37 minutes in length. There is a real nostalgia feeling across the album. Essentially it pays homage to all the sounds and styles of the original thrash/NWOBHM/power bands even managing to keep their production sounding like it was recorded on equipment dusted off from 3 decades earlier.
Straight from the off, with opener Screams in the North, you get a taste of what to expect across the album. A catchy riff and booming drums played at a slow tempo build into rolling beat with squealing guitars. Vocals are sung with attitude and showcase immense range. They jump in tone hitting Halford heights before dropping back again, all while the bass and drums lay down a quick riff and the lead guitar jumps between the riff and little solos. It’s really catchy stuff with a chorus that worms it’s way deep into your consciousness. Beware the Black Hand comes at you hard with a punishing riff and darker vocals while the guitars scream hellfire in the background. This is a proper, straight up head banger with a little bit of an Iron Maiden feel to it.
The title track, Land of No Kings is a favourite of mine. The quick picked riff in the intro is great and the verses blow my mind. The vocals moving at pace alongside the bass line and guitars like a glorious metal choir. The vocal range is insane again with ear piercing high notes, low tones and everything in between. The drums across this track are immense too. I challenge any fan of metal to listen to this track and not head bang. It’s impossible. The quality doesn’t end there. Dungeon Runner is a fast blast track at less than three minutes long. It’s all about the speed riffing and backing vocals with everything moving at double time. A glass shattering scream pierces the air and we move into an instrumental section with galloping riffs and screeching solos.
Hard on the Rock drops back to a lower tone with big booming drums and a slower pace. It has a nice chug to it and loads of bass that echoes round your brain. It speeds up for a huge solo that plays all the way through to the end. One for the budding air guitarist. The Man Who Made the Mountains has a Manowar feel to it. Definitely more closer to the power metal style with its grandiose melodic intro and operatic vocals. It builds in power but not speed with more layers being added and increased intensity in the vocals. There is nice Wah Wah guitar part with powerful vocals and gently melody that backs it. It’s and interesting track.
We get back to normality with Thunder in Hell next. A mid tempo groove acts as the spine of the track. The vocals are the highlight here with loads of backing, loads of range and unbelievable power. It has one of the best prechoruses and choruses across Land of No Kings too.
Gargoyle has a cool start with stand alone drums just blasting one loud beat on repeat before the guitars join in hitting a heavy riff and fiery solo. It speeds up as the track progresses with the vocals gathering power and aggression until they become a rasping snarl. Chuck in a huge solo and the catchiest, almost folk like singing passage that plays to the end and it’s another firm favourite. Land of No Kings ends with One for the Grave. The speed picks back up for a huge intro in a lead guitar driven track with solos bridging verses and choruses. It’s a fast and thrashy track and really epitomises the whole album. It captures the essence of the past but without ever feeling dated or like a copy.
Antioch IV – Land of No Kings is a brilliant album. It harks back to the glory days of classic metal but sounds fresh and exciting still. Kind of like someone taking the very best parts of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Judas Priest and Metallica to create a brand new beast. Something that has a touch of familiarity to it but is it’s own impressive form. A 4 headed black unicorn perhaps? Whatever it is, the 37 minutes flew passed in seconds as I found myself lost in the music, just thoroughly enjoying every riff, every beat, every solo and every vocal line. A mightily impressive album, for fans of, well, metal.
Antioch IV – Land of No Kings is available on all the usual streaming platforms now. You can also grab a copy from the band directly (and please do) from Bandcamp, here. You can also check out the full album on YouTube, here.
Antioch IV - Land of No Kings by Antioch (Self Released)