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Agonizer – Visions Of The Blind

Agonizer
Visions Of The Blind
by Anton Sanatov at 10 June 2016, 5:41 PM

Was it as good for you as it was for me? Some records just have a bit of a kink to them; be it rough stuff or just a drop of candle wax. Regardless, you can always tell if you're in for something just a little bit more tantalising from those first couple of minutes - as the clamps are administered and the chains begin to rattle.

It doesn't have to be a dungeon stocked with a pillory, leather boots and floggers, but as the strings commence to shred the latex, you know this record will be your mistress for the upcoming hour. And though AGONIZER's "Visions of the Blind" strips to reveal a domineering force of bonafide Heavy Metal, it also packs the gentle touch and full heart of a familiar romantic.

Be not intimidated by the band's moniker - you're in for pain and pleasure. As the album opens with "All Alone" it tickles the listener with playful staccato riffs and up-tempo melodic progressions like that of a love ballad trapped in the mind corridors of an amphetamine-riddled poet. The track - besides being a solid opener - is also valid in setting the tone for the band's musical affairs; which are tastefully promiscuous.

AGONIZER's polygamous approach includes relationships with Power Metal as well as some lust for a Progressive direction - all the while remaining faithful to a pure riff-driven marriage to traditional Heavy Metal. From the throbbing, drum-beaten and pick-scratched tracks like "Pieces" and "Trail", to the girth of lecherous ‘chuggers’ like "Lullacry" and "A Lie" and onto the melodic, synth-kissed climactic soars of "Eye of the Storm" and "Hazard", AGONIZER are looking to get the most out of their studio time.

Although the band doesn't stray from an explored formula, they do appear to posses a significant amount of diversity. Yet however many stylistic directions they may employ in their musical venture, they are all carried out with the utmost proficiency and emotional investment. Yes, at times the record does appear a touch uneven in its soundscape, and whilst that may detract from its consistency, it nonetheless makes it for an unpredictable ride; don't forget the safe word.

I can of course dedicate an entire review to the band's competent musicianship and songwriting - both of which are of the highest level (particularly the guitar work of Jari-Pekka Perälä and the monster hits of drummer Atte Palokangas) - yet I'm afraid that I can also do the same for a lot of their genre-mates; such bands as MACHINE MEN and MISERY INC. And that brings me onto the more painful part of this twisted discourse.

For all their skill and potential, we have all heard "Visions of the Blind" at least once before; and I do not mean this exact record…or even a record by the same band. And whilst that may at times be a welcome feature, it can also jade the odd Metal connoisseur. The vocals also left me slightly disenchanted; for whilst the bourbon-scorched mid/low register fits perfectly on top of delicate, sombre pieces like the acoustic revelation "Haze", it lacks the power and range to lift the heavier tracks.

Nevertheless: "Visions of the Blind" is a great record. The production is great, the execution is solid, and whilst this record’s kinks may not fulfil every single fetish, they will nonetheless satisfy the lust for good music.
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 6
Memorability 6
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. All Alone
  2. Devil
  3. Pieces
  4. Haze
  5. Sliced
  6. Eye of the Storm
  7. Trail
  8. Hazard
  9. Lullacry
  10. Thorns of Roses
  11. A Lie
  12. Trooper
  13. Nothing Changed
Lineup:
Jussi Tikka - Bass, Vocals
Jari-Pekka Perälä - Guitar, Vocals
Atte Palokangas – Drums
Record Label: 7Hard Records
     


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Edited 13 April 2021
 

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