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Agiel - Dark Pantheons Award winner

Dark Pantheons
by Daniel Fox at 13 February 2014, 6:40 PM

AGIEL is, to be frank, one of the most original and creative Death Metal bands I have ever heard, albeit being strongly influenced by the great FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, who set the bar incredibly high for Symphonic Death Metal. But is it easy enough to simply constrain AGIEL to a genre? Just on this (small) album, soon to be released, 5 allow for a true display of extreme, creative and dexterous expression. Combining sounds from just about all realms of extreme music, the inclusion of keyboard and sample effects is no longer relegated to background noise, but is a forefront element; something that paints the band a different color to everyone else.

"Dark Pantheons" was an ambitious kick-off to the album, at first assaulting your ears with every possible synonym of the word 'weird'. The unusual melodic progressions over FLESHGOD-speed drum riffs come together and form what is a metallic symphony. "Deeds Rendered Upon the Flesh" takes a direction leading away from the wall-of-sound approach and instead builds upon ingenious rhythm patterns that alternate between the epic and the bombastic; perhaps I am hearing a little BEHEMOTH creeping in. "The Awakening" feels as if it was crafted with a different mindset. It comes off as even more intelligently composed than the previous, with greater and deeper meaning, with a soundscape that is sleek in appearances, but drowns you in foreboding nuances.

"Serpent Masquerade" is altered again, with winding and unusual chord patterns, painted against the fastest drumming I have yet to hear from them, and the music is sounding a lot more chaotic at this point, shedding any deceptively orderly sound in favor of mental bombardment. The clean vocals in this track are particularly effective in amplifying the track's theatrical nature. "Andromeda" is the 5th and final track; if my ears are not mistaken, the drumming may even reach a higher tempo than the previous. It feels as if this track is a giant, clawed hand that is pulling the music back into its cusp and pumped at high pressure through more rhythmically-accessible riffage and an even more prominent symphonic vibe.

I often find myself saying this at the end of a week's review block, every time it is because I discover a wondrous new band. Once again I find myself saying that AGIEL has written some of the most epic, brutal and intellectual Death Metal I have ever heard. Definitely not the kind of Metal for those that prefer to drown in syncopated open-strings; Metal that requires you to think, whilst at the same time, headbanging your cranium off your spine.

4 Star Rating

1. Dark Pantheons
2. Deeds Rendered Upon the Flesh
3. The Awakening
4. Serpent Masquerade
5. Andromeda
James – Vocals, Keyboards
Jesse – Guitars
Kevin – Drums
Rich – Bass
Record Label: Deepsend Records


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