Antagonizers ATL return! On Kings, they boast a revamped line-up with full-time keyboards (Billy Fields), dual guitars (still Richard Richard Henderson and Eric Antell), new drummer Don Tonic, and new bassist Wynn Petit (DDC, Fatskins, Strike First).
With Kings, Antagonizers ATL add to their impressive rebirth in the 2010s. This full-length embodies street rock ‘n’ roll with a raucous sound, infectious hooks, rebellious lyrics soaked in working-class camaraderie, and seductive gang vocals. Kings embodies the hallmarks of unifying punk in these isolating times. The legend, Bohdan, still has a powerful voice after decades, literally, in his chords, and figuratively, with his lyrics. And Fields’ organ truly adds a layer of warmth to the sound.
Kings kicks open its ten tracks with “Worries” a mid-paced stomper, heavy on the organ and a pounding rhythm section; telling a tale of the vexing issues of current days. “Black Clouds” emphasizes the guitar and keys again, along with some breaks to showcase Petit’s great bass work.
Lyrics eschew the ‘born to lose’ ethos touting “only the weak run and hide” with vocal help from Noi!se’s Matt Henson. The catchy riffs and sing-along glory continues with the banger, “Trouble” and then the title track. “No Rest for the Wicked” is a boisterous bouncing delivering a punch.
Side B bursts through the speakers with the best song on Kings, “Believe.” The track utilizes all The Antagonizers ATL’s best attributes to the hilt. An inspiring chorus with ample “woahs” and “ohs” to get a crowd amped. “Hold On, Hold Strong” is another mid-tempo song.
“Problems” is a little gruffer, a little harder, and balances the overall vibe. Hard drums and searing guitars with the aggressive vocals all work well. “Marching On” again allows Henderson’s fretwork to take center stage. Organ-laden chants and a marching breakdown add variety and some personality. The album’s closer delivers with a strong finish. Thick riffs charge forward with a bigger sound.
Kings’ strengths are the salient lead guitar of Henderson, more present than ever and doubling down on the rock ‘n’ roll. Antagonizers ATL also know to keep it short per track, making sure that no song on the LP passes four minutes, while also getting the job done in ten tracks.
Punk does not have to be a youth culture. Embracing a message of tenacity and fortitude instead of nihilism, Antagonizers ATL unify and scream with passion, experience and conviction. Their integrity is bold and enveloping. Continuing the Atlanta rock ‘n roll legacy of APA, Terminus City, and Anti-Heros, Antagonizers ATL carry a bright torch into the 2020s.