American Dreams Records

ANTI-GOD HAND - Blight Year LP

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“If anything, it’s an optimistic record,” says Vancouver musician Will Ballantyne on Blight Year, “but there's struggle, too.” Ballantyne wrote the album—his second as Anti-God Hand—in 2021, on the heels of a hyper-prolific period for the project and a difficult summer in which he came face-to-face with the climate crisis as personal struggles loomed overhead. "I had just finished a season working in the bush when I wrote the album," Ballantyne says, "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 sixty 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."

Blight Year emerged from this period like a gemstone from coal. Ballantyne is an in-demand performer, and has developed his prodigal compositions as writer (writing and performing as City) and interpreter (performing with Chinese endurance performance art collective TRANCE). Where past A-GH releases blended live and synthetic elements, on Blight Year, Ballantyne enlisted engineer Colin Marston (Krallice, Indricothere, Gorguts, etc.) and powerhouse drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Ben Frost, Colin Stetson) to provide an added human element. The result is an ideological and sonic crystallization that pushes Anti-God Hand's cosmic black metal into something still more emphatic, distinctive, dynamic.