Every now and again, a band will come along and offer something so bizarre and different that it makes the task of writing about it very difficult indeed. One such band is Antlered Man, a kind of twisted post-rock metal band from London; however on Giftes 1 & 2 - their debut album - they twist and mutilate any formula with such reckless abandon and carefree whimsy that it is hard to put them in any sort of genre pigeon hole. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The album starts off with an almost far eastern, hypnotic, winding riff that slowly builds to a climax on Outrages 1 ta 3. Surrounded by White Men also has this brooding, almost psychotic feeling. You can feel these two songs are edging ever closer to some kind of meltdown, and when it eventually hits it is absolutely glorious in both cases, in an unhinged kind of way.
But just when you think you have got the measure of Antlered Man, they turn your expectations their head. Better the Calamity You Know takes in more of a fast, bouncy punk vibe, while Buddhist Soup is much more relaxed. Well, I say relaxed, but it still has pounding drums and distortion all over it. That's all going on behind the major key whistling. Mad.
In short, Antlered Man have their influences (Mr. Bungle, The Cardiacs, System of a Down) readily on their sleeves, but have taken the time to create something a little bit different to all of them. Giftes 1 & 2 is by no means an easy listen and it reveals more and more with each repeat play. Antlered Man are wonderfully off the wall and indescribable, but with persistence there are some real treasures hidden here.