Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Catching Up With 2013 : Agrimonia's Rites of Separation

This Swedish band's 2013 release marks their 3rd album and my friend in metal Grim Kim , listed them as her number one metal album for the year, so I had to see what they fuss is about. They are much more melodic,. butcoming from Gothenburg its expected. It is far from the poppy Dark Tranquility /In Flames styled stuff, that I am not a fan of, nor do I think is death metal. I am not sure these guys are death metal, but they are closer than In Flames, but who isn't if they are at least heavier than Korn.

The ten minute opener has enough stuff to justify its length. Its not pure Entombed worship like you might expect. The vocal's are harsh and delivered in a somewhat At the Gates manner, but they don't rely on the twin guitar thrash attack.The majority if the opener is quickly paced aside from some of the more deliberate half time grooves, that are not what I would call d-beat . There is a good gallop to the bulk of the song, clean vocal chime off in the distance underneath the riffs.

Two of the albums songs are 15 minutes one of them being the second song " Hunted" that opens with an interlude like piano piece. The band falls in behind keeping it things at an almost deary pace, before exploding into things, with an almost hard core fervor. The vocals get a little more throaty here, shifting into lower growls to accent the riff. After listening to this song all the way through for the purpose , of this review I then paced myself and digested it in five minute increments. The alternating vocal theme carrying over into the second section of the song that is divide by a groove like break down, that borders being on progressive but not overtly as the assumption comes with the fifteen min mark looming. The vocals take on a more hateful rasp that is where the black metal labels comes from, but the music doesn't have the dark dissonance of black metal so I would not label it as such.

Sure it's pretty sprawling and even massive in its sonic scope, but even being a fan of progressive music I can't say  I am often in the mood to listen to 15 minute songs. But the band are talented arrangers more than they are song writers , these are more movements and compositions than they are songs, it more of an experience in some sense, but it still invokes the old school metal sense of fun, as the riffs are generally pretty catchy.When it comes to these massive epics they don't let time go to waste and they seem to fill the spaces very naturally.

Their is a subtle intro that build like an Agalloch song with sludge leanings on "While Life Lasts" which at ten minutes flows like a pop song. It is more sonically dense though it goes into the more care free gallops into the Swedish hills. They close the show down with the other 15 minute monster. This one they make artsy noise for the first two minutes, then kick in with a hefty riff and blasting double bass rolling in like a storm cloud beneath it. It loses some of the winds in its sails after the first five mins ends with it drifting down the lonesome fjrod. It flows int variations of a despondent gallop until it floats into a drifting trippy whispering section.

I'll round it up to an 8 as in some ways these guys seem like a thinking man's Moonsorrow, it does the gallop into battle variation but with doses of experimentation surrounding it like Agalloch, but with the pagan romps in the woods to get there.  


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