Type: CD Company: Century Media Release: 2005 Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore Reviewer: Eric Compton Published: 7/7/2005
Probably be a tremendous start for this young band
Agents Of Man - Count Your Blessings - 2005 - Century Media
1. Death of Me 2. No Tomorrow 3. Blood Money 4. Repercussion 5. Without a Trace 6. Can't Run Away 7. Count Your Blessings 8. Truth You Hide 9. Murder 10. Be My Savior 11. Consequence 12. Headless
Folks, I don't make the news, I'm just here to report it. Agents Of Man has landed on my doorstep from the kind folks at Century Media. With the recent releases of Brand New Sin, Manntis, and now this entry, Century Media really seems to be a wide open label, really specializing in all sorts of metal and it's many sub-genres. "Count Your Blessings" marks this band's second effort, a follow-up to the "AOM EP 01" debut from 2001 and first for new label Century Media. This New Jersey band is made from former members of Bulldoze, One 4 One, and Train Of Thought. The group have found themselves on the road with the likes of Candiria, Full Blown Chaos, Sworn Enemy, and 36 Crazy Fists, and now have prepared for their widest exposure to date, an album that will be well received by the right crowd.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not really into this particular style, with most of my humble metal beginnings straying from the more mainstream sound. Not that Agents Of Man would really fit any mold or trend these days, their musical skills will really put them on stage with just about anyone other than Manowar. But the ingredients found within "Count Your Blessings" are going to be more at par with the likes of Sevendust, P.O.D, and E-Town Concrete. If that is your crowd then you will really find what you need here. In fact I will say that most of the material on this record is very enjoyable, at times really taking me aback with their sharp, precise guitars and rather addictive use of melody and aggression.
You can find elements of Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Crowbar, and even Papa Roach here, but for the most part the band keeps a hip-hop backbone to the bulk of the songs. This isn't a bad thing because that is really where the arrangements are built. Guitarists Rey Fonseca and Zack Thorne really light up a melodic approach at hard rock riffery here, soaring along on the strings with many different influences.
From bone crushing displays of aggression on "Death Of Me", "Repercussion", and "Consequence", fans of the more extreme or aggressive nature will find plenty to like. The band make great use of "gang chants" to heighten the intensity and emotion, while vocalist George M. seems to show off a good range with his voice. At times he can sing the clean hard rock sound, while other times he uses the more sinister growl or hardcore shout. Every song seems to mix the vocals up well, with plenty of rock solid heaviness mixed with a more pop-oriented feel. Obviously tracks like "Can't Run" and "Blood Money" seem to have a more modern rock sound, and that is really where Agents Of Man find their biggest prize. For me personally I like the Papa Roach way of thought here, it seems to work well with the band. However the group can pull off the Killswitch Engage type of affair as well, really showcasing a wide range of skills and thought patterns.
Just like the recent Manntis release, this album will probably sell well for Century Media. I'm glad to see that the more mainstream side of life isn't quite as bleak as I once thought. With bands like Agents Of Man finally making the grade and getting their foot in the door, it should lend some great influence to the genre. This is an MTV band, but at the same time they have the talent and ability to take the mainstream away and really focus on good songs and a great live show. "Count Your Blessings" is a great second effort and one that will probably be a tremendous start for this young band.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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