Label: Blackened Death Records
Can you hear that sound approaching? It is the sounds of RIFFS. Fortress in Space by Antitheist (one of Pope Richard’s many, many bands) is a three-track feast of self-described “teenage death metal” – but I don’t remember most of the death metal of my teen years having riffs as direct and crushing as this, or being as immediate and energetic. High-tempo and wrapped up in a sci-fi aesthetic, Fortress in Space is rather different from most of Pope Richard’s projects in that it’s not overtly political, but it’s as heavy as anything else he’s done, and hugely enjoyable.
I have to emphasize again just how direct and meaty the riffs on Fortress in Space are. There’s a satisfying mix of palm-muted chuggs and semi-melodic moments that are as thrash as they are death metal, most notably on KOS-MOS, the best track on the EP. When combined with some slower leads, the end result is an EP that feels incredibly energetic, moving along at considerable speed (something that those slower sections help to emphasize, by providing a sense of contrast). It also means that Fortress in Space feels like a lot of fun, especially considering it’s sci-fi based lyrics. Sure, some might find having a song based upon a character from a Japanese Role Playing Game a bit too silly, but considering that metal has always reveled in the absurd and fantastical, it’s a tough argument to make.
Instead, it’s better to just get on board with what Antitheist are doing. If you’ve previously enjoyed Pope Richard’s death metal tracks under the Carnivorous Forest moniker, then you’ll enjoy Fortress in Space. If you like your death metal to be full of riffs, energy, and a sense of fun, then you’ll want to check this out.