Finland's Antipope has existed since '04. They released a couple of demos and EPs before publishing their debut album "Desert" in 2010, and it seemingly got things rolling for them as their second album got published already in late 2011. The album was released as a professional CD, but I cannot comment on how it looks or what the lyrics are about since the digital promo had none of these infos.
It's been a few years since I last gave the band a good listen, but to me it seems that the band's trademark elements haven't gone anywhere. The music still carries a dark and a bit peculiar overtone, it's hard to classify into a specific genre, and the vocalist is sure to annoy a lot of people that are just getting to know the band. The songs are mostly mid-tempo, and range from downright melancholy and gothic moments to harsher, thrashier and more heavy metal-influenced bits, all the way to "Waratah" which radiates more than a glimmer of psychedelic rock. There's some electronics spicing the songs every now and then, too, but I'm happy to say they've been employed with good taste.
The amount of variation is worth an applause, especially so since the palette doesn't shatter to pieces at any time. There are some moments which seem a little off, but with an album this long it's forgivable - especially so since these outsider-bits seem to be one of the key things that keep the album fresh. The main things keeping the album together are it operating around the mid-tempo for most of the time, which makes it progress in a calm and thought-out manner. The tempos suit the songs' dim atmosphere and the even grandiose choruses, too.
The last but not least unifying factor is the vocalist's personal way of singing, shouting and even screaming here and there. His voice seems off key for a lot of time, but he sings with such attitude, it eventually starts to sound like he's actually trying to sing the way he does. His voice has a humorous aspect and takes some getting used to, but its amount of personality and attitude keeps me from actually complaining. His voice gives Antipope a face.
There is a lot to hear and digest on the album, and the band's bold attitude is sure to piss off a lot of puritans. "House of Harlot" is a tad too long to actually break a man's face, but it has the musical capability, boldness, raw charisma and a personal, even peculiar atmosphere. These are the things that have kept me from forgetting the band during the few years I've known their music. "An acquired taste," as some say. Take it or leave it.