Agony of Death
Agony of Death
Company: Wacken Records
Reviewer: Hail and Kill
A crash course in Thrash Metal
While the metal world is hotly anticipating the new Kreator album, "Hordes of Chaos", Germany's more obscure pioneering Thrash band have just released the latest chapter of their discography to lesser fanfare. Music-wise, "Agony of Death" doesn't bring anything new to the table, but it's by rounding the wheel that everyone is guaranteed a good time. A lot of reviewers aren't comfortable with its 70-minute length, but these write ups totally miss the point. Holy Moses aren't neglecting any details here, going so far as adding epic flourishes to their two dimensional sound such as the Axel Rudi Pell keyboardist's classy touches at the beginning of some songs. Another perfect example would be "Schizophrenia," which arrives on track seven bearing this Megadeth chunkiness married to the upper register wails of Metalium's Henning Basse.
Dissecting the "Agony of Death" roller coaster from top to bottom, the album's initial ambiance proves as inviting as its cover art. The air raid siren and explosions at its first minute set the listener's grim mood for "Imagination." Once the decibels start racing, Sabina Classen, the uncelebrated progenitress of extreme female vocals, proceeds to mangle her lyrics. Featuring a choice breakdown married to a brilliant guitar lick around its middle, "Imagination" merely whets the listener's appetite for what's to come. The next song, "Alienation," is cast from the same mold as its predecessor and even has the Axel Rudi Pell guy once again lending it a smidgen of sophisticated keyboards before the riffs churn.
"Agony of Death" starts to diversify once the flamboyant guitar solo that opens "World of Darkness" harnesses the band's melodic side. The rugged quintet let go of the brakes once more on "Bloodbound of the Damned," whose gang-style chants betray a very Teutonic "Bloodbound of zzze Damned!!!" The album reaches its climax on the vitriolic tandem "Pseudohalluzination" and "Angels In War." Pushing the envelope further, token beat-your-chest breakdowns inspires a circle pit for "Dissociative Disorder," yet to avoid somebody getting killed the band brings in "Delusional Denial" for headbanging fun. "The Retreat" marks Holy Moses' last frenzied outburst before they sashay to its ending at mid tempo.
Booming horns and humming violins are the whisper that closes "Through Shattered Minds," a suitable finale for this spectacle of sonic violence. Now if the youth of today ever need a crash course in Thrash Metal, Testament's latest, the re-mastered "Bonded by Blood" and this album form their core curriculum. Conversion is imminent.