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Agents Of Man
Count Your Blessings
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

Track Listing
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.


--EC 06.03.05
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 served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. 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.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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Count Your BlessingsAgents Of Man
2005
Eric Compton7/7/2005


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