Exclaim!'s Staff Picks: ​Anti-God Hand Breaks Through on "Barge of Light"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jul 14, 2023

Vancouver musician Will Ballantyne wrote the material that would form Blight Year, his forthcoming album as Anti-God Hand, following a summer of struggle. In announcing the effort, he recalled how "everything seemed totally destroyed and forlorn" following a season of low-paying manual labour over which he felt extreme heat of climate collapse and saw familiar places literally burn to the ground. 
In persevering, the artist came to realize, "There is always a way through," and "Barge of Light" leads the charge out of the darkness ahead of the album's arrival next month. This time around, Ballantyne has fortified his black metal machine through enlisting drummer Greg Fox and engineer Colin Marston, two contributors proving crucial to the widening of the BC's project's musical scope.
Delay effects dilute a quickly picked arpeggio before it combusts into a more aggressive, overdriven form. The urgent passage is propelled in new directions by Fox's bludgeoning stick work, giving way to a meditative instrumental reprieve. Soon enough, the drums beat their way back to the fore, ushering in a glorious final progression where triumphant lead guitar and Ballantyne's forceful howls collide to create the sound of breaking through.

(American Dreams Records)

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