Antirope are an alternative metal band founded in Munich, Germany in 2015, and while their most important influences are Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and Neurosis, they bring us a new sound that makes the psychedelic cruel and the damned sound heavenly. The band consists of Slaven Stokic on vocals and guitar, Patrick Fleischer on guitar and backing vocals, Julie Fleischer on bass, and Juergen “Bam Bam” Wiehler on drums, all of them taking us on a journey straight through what is heavy and gruesome in order to expose what’s endearing and subtle. Their debut record, Amnesia, gives the listener a mirror of hope and ruin, an aesthetic anti-trend, leaving all of us wanting more. Way more.
In the tradition of many great bands like Halestorm, Pantera, and Van Halen, family and close friends are at the roots, the core, and the spine of this project. Patrick and Slaven were good friends when they started looking for a new rhythm section in 2020, and Slaven was friends with Tobi, a guitar player who had always been more interested in the drums. The three decided to jam, and the connection was immediate. On a whim then, Patrick mentioned that his younger sister Julie, currently a Disco/House DJ, had played a mean bass back when she was fifteen years old. The four then tried playing together, and the synergy was undeniable. It was a magnificent celebration defined by Patrick’s harmonious dissonance on guitar, Slaven’s heartfelt and sometimes ethereal vocal, Julie’s groove on the bass, and Tobi’s intricate swag behind the drumkit. It felt right. It was family.
In terms of recording Amnesia, it is important to note that Patrick produced it in his own studio. In the early 1990s he established LUNGFULL Studios and produced three albums for Lacrimas Profundere (Napalm Records), the album Give me Light for Darkseed (Nuclear Blast Records), two albums from his former band, ALEV, and more. The studio was mainly pure analog, and everything was recorded on tape. In 2009, he moved the studio to the center of Munich and renamed it Studio 6.0, switching to digital recording, but keeping the analog desk until now. Most notably, Patrick wanted to develop the possibility of recording many parts live to coincide with his vision for rock and metal music, and though many bands did track by track recordings, Patrick wanted to have the option of both. In Studio 6.0, Patrick produced several German rock and metal giants, and he was also booked as an engineer to record the drums of Mark Schulman (the drummer for Pink).
Patrick planned to record Antirope live, because he wanted to capture the unbridled energy from their rehearsals. As a result, the guitar sound emerged as something heavy and deep, sometimes broken, but fat. Often, Patrick played riffs with a monophone octaver. Normally one wouldn’t play chords like this, but “muddy yet fractured,” was the feel he was looking for. As Slaven played a single coil guitar, the purpose was to capture that glorious mud with punchy drums and deep bass. And the result? Raw power. Truth heavy.
Antirope recorded all the instrumentals for Amnesia live in one and a half days. The vocal takes were quick and took only four evenings. The result is an album that combines unusual elements that craft a new vision. It is a catalog of human dichotomy, sunlight and darkness, moonlight and muck, dreamscapes and nightmares and hope born of chaos. Beauty can ride sidesaddle with dissonance here. Life is polarity, melodic and haunting, and Antirope manages to harness our mysteries in order to unleash this mammoth arc of tragedy and triumph that carves all our names back into the world.
Amnesia was released via Eclipse Records on June 30, 2023.