The Dear Hunter Release Antimai - Part One of Their New Epic Sci-Fi Adventure
4.4 out of 5 stars
I am a big fan of The Dear Hunter, and it’s hard not to like anything that they put out. With that said, the new album Antimai sort of tests those boundaries.
After years of following a singular concept - that of The Dear Hunter character - the band has taken their talents in an all new direction for the first time since their 2011 release The Color Spectrum (which was more a recording concept than a thematic concept really).
Antimai is the album that builds upon last year’s “The Indigo Child” EP where the band has created a sci-fi universe that is similar in concept to The Hunger Games or Snowbpiercer where each city is a “ring” around the center that goes from the poorest citizens on the outside ring (Ring 8) to the richest and most powerful at the center.
I mention this, because all the tracks on the album are titled based on the 8 rings having one song per ring and sung from the perspective of a person within that ring.
The album starts with “Ring 8 - Poverty” which in sound is a bit like the cantina on Mos Eisely from Star Wars from my perspective. Lots of percussive instruments and some different kinds of sounding instruments at the beginning of the song is a bit of a weird start.
However, it should be noted that the whole album might be a soundtrack for an entire movie. It’s not entirely clear yet how it goes.
Anyway, the poor people of Ring 8 have the faith that the Indigo Child is going to save them from their sorrows, and while the place of Antimai (planet, city??) has its caste systems that control the every day lives of everyone, the ones on the outer rings have to toil away to supply the inner rings of wealthy and powerful people with food and other civilized necessities.
Then comes “Ring 7 - Industry” which are the more factory type workers. The music to this song is a bit funky - not really sure why though.
One thing I can say is that the characters of Rings 8, 7 and 3 and 1 are pretty basic characters of “all good” or “all bad” or at least “the abused” versus the “abusers.” It’s a bit too cut and dry for overall character development for my liking.
That said, once the songs move into “Ring 5 - Middle Class” and “Ring 4 - Patrol” and even to some extent “Ring 6 - LoTown” the characters are a little more complex, and not to surprisingly, the songs are actually better in my opinion.
These rings suffer from feeling sorry for the lower class citizens, hating the upper class citizens, but really “just doing their job” so they can’t do much about the affairs of the world.
These songs are very good analogies for the modern world, and I really like these 3 songs.
It is not at all clear how the Indigo Child story will development from here as there are supposed to be 2-3 full-length albums to chronicle the story arc.
I have a feeling this is like the “Table of Contents” that sort of introduces everything, but it is not meant to really get deep into the story just yet.
The absolutely weirdest song conceptually on the album is “Ring 2 - Nature” which is apparently from the perspective of the plants in this ring. The emperor in Ring 1 (a.k.a. “Tower”) holds nature close to him as it is a highly precious commodity in this seemingly post-apocalyptic society.
This really isn’t a straightforward rock album like any of their previous albums that keep a concept while putting the music first. This effort really puts the concept first and puts a “score” to the concept more than rock songs to the concept.
So, for now, I am not going to praise or hate this album. It is intriguing enough for me to keep an open mind, but I don’t listen to this album for its singular great songs or even have enough invested in it yet to overly care about the concept just yet.
It hasn’t pulled me in like any of their other albums to date so far.
But, with The Dear Hunter, patience usually pays off.
What I can say as of right now is that I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.
You can also watch the short film that introduced this entire saga called "The Indigo Child: Prologue: Cycle 8" as well.