CHEYENNE, Wyo. — During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, brothers and lifelong musicians Andrew and Matthew Whiteman recorded original heavy metal songs in their Cheyenne home.
Three years later, the duo, now known as Antisaint, has released its debut album, garnered a dedicated fan base on social media and preformed on a nationwide tour.
An invitation to play at the world-renowned rock festival Download in June also has the band’s career starting off on a high note.
“I honestly never thought [going to Download] would be a thing that would happen,” Andrew said. “There’s a ton of bands we love and respect. We still can’t believe we’ll be associated with them.”
Born and raised in Denver, the brothers’ love for heavy metal goes all the way back to their elementary school days, when Andrew received an acoustic guitar as a gift. Soon, he was strumming along to songs from the iconic Australian rock band AC/DC.
Matthew, intrigued by the music, decided to take vocal lessons. AC/DC’s live performances at the Download Festival were one of their favorite sets to listen to.
“It was so inspiring to see a crowd of people just losing their minds to it,” Matthew said. “I never saw anything like it.”
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music known for its loud, distorted guitar riffs, dense bass and drum sound and powerful vocals.
“The way that rock bands … use a kick drum, it’s so aggressive and you feel it in your chest,” Andrew said. “It’s just loud and powerful and aggressive all at the same time.”
To some people, it can sound like chaos. For the Whiteman brothers, though, listening to and preforming heavy metal songs is a cathartic experience.
“It’s a good way to kind of blow off some steam … to lose yourself and not worry about what’s going on on the outside,” Matthew said. “It’s just wild, it’s a good time.”
Throughout their teenage years, the pair practiced at home and showcased their skills at local middle and high school talent shows.
“We did all the cringeworthy stuff,” Matthew said.
Drawn to Cheyenne’s more affordable cost of living, the brothers moved to the city in 2020 and remained there during the pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit we really buckled down and said, ‘OK, let’s do a serious band with more intention put into it,'” Andrew said.
During lockdown, the brothers recorded and wrote songs. Their first album, “Vaticinate,” was released in 2021. In August 2022, Antisaint debuted at The Lincoln Center as the opening act for the rock band Puddle of Mudd.
“It was one of the easiest shows we’ve done,” Matthew said. “The crowd was supper engaged from the start.'”
Following the concert, Antisaint was invited to open for the Texas rock band Drowning Pool during its “Strike a Nerve Fall Tour.” The duo preformed in various states including South Carolina, Wisconsin and Louisiana.
While on the tour, Andrew said the band was discovered by industry executives who approached Download on their behalf. On the last day of the tour, Antisaint’s representative revealed they were invited to play at the British rock festival.
“You got to be a fool not to take it,” Andrew said.
Although Download is months away, the brothers are busy recording new songs for the event and curating their half-hour set list.
“We’re trying to figure out how to make that the most kickass half hour with the catalog we have,” Andrew said.
For new Antisaint listeners, Andrew recommends their songs “Incomplete” and “The Other Side,” which feature “mainstream sound and melodic vocals.”
Those who prefer dabbling in more heavy and aggressive metal songs can listen to “ID” and “Feeding the Crows.” The two songs are the duo’s favorites to play live.
Whether their audience is at home or abroad, the brothers hope people can connect with Antisaint’s music.
“I think what’s cool about music is that you can listen to an album and know what the artist was feeling at that time,” Matthew said. “In a way, albums are like time capsules.”