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As The World Dies - Agonist Award winner

As The World Dies
Agonist
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 07 March 2022, 5:56 AM

Finally coming together in 2018 by Scott Fairfax (from MEMORIAM) and Chris McGrath, AS THE WORLD DIES is an English death metal band that has dropped their debut album “Agonist.” And what a debut it is!  On top of the already stellar musicians involved, it has numerous guests, including  Karl Willets (BOLT THROWER, MEMORIAM), David Ingram (BENEDICTION, among many others) and Kam Lee (MASSACRE). But all the great vocalists can only do much…what about the music?  Well, “Agonist” is the catchiest death metal album I have heard so far this year.  I don’t mean that in a negative way.  This is still 100% uncompromising death metal to the core.  But I lost count of the number of riffs and moments across the album that got stuck in my head.  This album has a perfect run time of forty-six minutes but it will take longer to listen to it just because you’ll be rewinding it so much to hear all the great parts over and over again.

The near perfect production helps provide maximum reasons for returning to the album over and over again like I did.  Every instrument fits perfectly into each song and compliments each vocalist.  Despite how heavy they are, Scott obviously spent a lot of time on song writing and actually making the songs good.  How many death metal bands sound like they are heavy for the sake of it?  “Agonist” is an album that makes the extremity work for the songs themselves.

The album begins with “Annulment,” an intro that begins forgettable but finishes strong before fading out.  The real meat of the album begins with the first proper track “Desolate,” which features Paula Webhe as well as vocalist Jay Price.  The two of them rip through the song, swift and devastating. The riffs that back up their attack are as crushing as expected but have a sense of groove and forward momentum.  Around two minutes in, the song slows down and the atmosphere just oozes out of the framework.  Remember when I said the album was chock full of kick ass moments?  Yeah this is one of them.

The band doesn’t steer away from being melodic, either.  In fact, they steer into it with taught control, using it as yet another resources to makes these songs so special.  “Red Death” is one example of this.  The overall guitar work is melodic but the feel off the song is hellish because of the bass and Alex Mumford’s growls/screams.  This song exists into two worlds that collide yet maintain a balance that lends the song such a great style and feel.

The Tempest” has David Ingram on vocals and that is probably all I need to say. But the song is a banger, grinding ever forward while providing the perfect musical platform for Ingram to display his mighty power. The bass slaps too and the drums are fast and crisp.  Death meal perfection?  Pretty damn close. The later half of the song is fucking outstanding, love the soundscapes.  “Day Of Reckoning,” reveals further dynamics the band has a grasp upon.  The keys/synths are subtle and simple but also extremely engrossing.  How they sound with the riffs is both eerie yet perfect.  Throughout the song, the death metal is also the focus but the gripping environment in which is lives is equally as engaging.

Until You’ve Bled,” features Janekke de Rooy on vocals and the entire six minutes of the song is killer.  The riffs are slick as hell, especially in the beginning when it builds up to Janekke’s first ferocious screams. At moments, the song is slow and somewhat doomy..it works really well and I kept listening to the first minute and fifty seconds or so over and over again.  That isn’t to say the rest of the song is bad.  Quite the opposite, as it keeps gaining intensity as the seconds tick by. About seventy five percent through the song, the doom returns but this time with melodic tinges.  Loved it.

What’s better than a title track?  A band name title track.  The last song is “As The World Dies,” and it is a doozy.  The riffs remind of a much heavier and darker KATAKLYSM.  The song gets more evil as it goes along, very much one of those tracks that seems to cave in the brain, especially if you have headphones on.  I think this song represents the overall feel and style of the album very well and, therefore, makes a strong finisher.  Plus, it has Kam Lee.  What more do you want? AS THE WORLD DIES’ “Agonist” surprised me with just how well constructed yet bludgeoning it can be.   Only the most cynical of fans would ignore such an album—get this one at all costs.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Annulment
2. Desolate
3. Dawn Of Terror
4. Red Death
5. The Tempest
6. Day Of Reckoning
7. Save The Earth
8. Until You've Bled
9. Thin Out The Herd
10. As The World Dies
Lineup:
JayCrikeyPrice - Vocals
Scott Fairfax - Guitars
Chris McGrath - Drums
Bill Richmond - Bass
Ash Cotterill - Guitars/Vocals
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
     


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