Music Reviews

Antioch Arrow

Gem of Masochism

Three One G

For those you under the age of 20, I’m willing to bet that you missed the early-1990s California violent emo revolution, courtesy of the folks at Gravity Records. Bands like Heroin, Angelhair, Clickitat Ikatowi, VSS and legions more laid the groundwork for a flourishing post-punk scene in California that would give artier kids something better than Gilman Street punk. One of the bands that kind of had a bad rap around this time was the infamous Antioch Arrow. They were, according to many scenesters of the day, more into image than the music and consequently polluted the waters of the scene.

Antioch Arrow played spastic emo stuff, similar to what Heroin was doing, but it was a bit more groove influenced, like Universal Order of Armageddon. But on Gems of Masochism (originally released in 1994, and now re-released by Three One G Records), they really went into strange waters. The songs here are tribal, brooding, dark, piano driven and incredibly introspective and claustrophobic. Memories of early Sonic Youth, Birthday Party and Lydia Lunch all come to mind when listening to this album. It’s so different from their early stuff that I wouldn’t have known it was Antioch Arrow had I not been informed beforehand.

Honestly, I like Gems of Masochism better than the other Antioch Arrow stuff I’ve heard. Their other albums, while enjoyable simply for their spastic and violent qualities, seem to be little more than carbon copies of Clickitat Ikatowi’s ideas. The band really puts its own foot forward with this release, and the darkness is as thick as tar. I’m not in my teens anymore, but if I was, I’d want to know what was important 10 years ago, so listen up kids: Antioch Arrow is historically important. If you consider yourself a “screamo” fan, pick up this little baby! It’s quite good, and better than the other albums in Antioch’s catalogue.

P.S. – Fans of Slant 6 will be happy to know that Myra Powers supplies some vocals on this album!

Three One G Records:

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