Vancouver's Anti-God Hand Returns with New Album 'Blight Year'

Hear "Barge of Light" from Will Ballantyne's latest below

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jul 11, 2023

Will Ballantyne has detailed a new album as Anti-God Hand. The Vancouver musician will deliver the black metal project's full-length Blight Year on August 25 via American Dreams

The nine-track Blight Year follows Anti-God Hand's series of 2021 releases led by debut album Wretchwhich landed the project among Exclaim!'s New Faves in May of that year. While those efforts were credited to a five-piece outfit, Ballantyne has since revealed himself to be the band's singular member behind guitars, vocals, bass, synthesizers and drum programming.

This changes for Blight Year, as Ballantyne — who also records and performs as City, and whose guitars were recently heard on DEBBY FRIDAY's acclaimed debut GOOD LUCK — has enlisted the musical assistance of drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Ben Frost, Colin Stetson) and engineer Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold... the Arctopus, Gorguts).

Ballantyne characterizes Blight Year as an album of struggle and optimism, sharing in a statement how the songs were born from a summer in which he faced climate crisis and personal trials.

"I had just finished a season working in the bush when I wrote the album," he shares, "after a very brutal summer climate-wise, bear-wise, money-wise. We were doing these insane climbs every day on super steep, unstable slopes in 40-degree-C heat for 60 dollars each. For several days British Columbia was the hottest place on Earth. A town I sometimes worked in burned to the ground. I was in a really bad place personally and financially, and everything seemed totally destroyed and forlorn."

Ballantyne continues to say that, from out of his cruel summer, "I was struck by the realization that, when I recorded those songs, I was talking to myself. There is supposed to be a way through. There is always a way through."

First single "Barge of Light," which can be heard below, speaks to that headway in how its punishing first half ascends to a more cosmic space.

Pre-order Blight Year.

Blight Year:

1. Out of the Tunnels, Into the Heavens
2. Barge of Light
3. The Horde at the End of Language
4. Endless Brightness
5. Demon Sniper
6. Warped and Opalescent Swords
7. Chaoscene Hell
8. Hyperincursion of the Theocentre
9. Held

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