Antiskeptic - Stare Down The Ocean

Reviewed by Mark Plummer

The return of a musical act always warrants certain skepticism; will this be a release that time apart benefits from, or will it be a bike ride down the banks of the river Styx?

Whilst The Kids Aren’t Scared warrants some initial worry, it does eventually shake off any sluggishness, opening up on the homeward stretch. It’s left to lead single, Hey Dissident, to truly announce this album and the oodles of pros that Antiskeptic have brought back to the Melbourne scene. The lead guitar parts feel more in tune with the direction of both track and album; subtle in places whilst gargantuan in others, it is these segments that are the life blood of this album, acting as a focal point for the release to be built around.

What starts out as a quick footed pace, is temporarily put on hold during New Horizon. That’s not to say that this release gets pulled back, rather given a chance to express a little more clarity. The piano may not have been appropriate before now, but it fits in wonderfully, giving the track a certain belonging with the rest of the album; when the rest of the band takes over to provide a more direct source of power, it can still be found firmly rooted in memory.

All-in-all, this release is built on the back of Antiskeptic playing to their rock band genes, sure thing it’s great to hear a little more experimentation and the flow of ideas, but when tracks like I’ll Follow, When The Night Comes In and Suffering In Silence kick back in, suddenly there’s an effervescent longing for more. Despite Stare Down The Ocean featuring just ten tracks, it has to be admired just how controlled and swiftly executed it is; wetting the appetite and leaving a longing for more. After every soaring lead guitar part, whether it be a solo up out front, or the scintillating riffs that meander their course through the background, this is a release that will captivate listeners, transforming their experience.

Like an epic poem, or a classical book that cannot be forgotten, this is one of those rare releases that is sure to spark and ignite the masses. Most poignant are the lyrics in title track: Stare Down The Ocean. The personal epitaph to the past is evident: battling devils, picking oneself up, and somehow finding that little shred of belief to carry on. When this is backed up with the powerful artwork, suddenly this album takes on a whole new guise of what it means to pour heart and soul into the notes and sounds that carry each message.

Credit where credit’s due, this release is satisfying, consistent and genuinely enjoyable, I just hope it’s not the last from these Melbourne lynchpins. 

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