Agonia Records

  • Ephel Duath - Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness (2013)


    Constantly expecting something interesting and revealing from Ephel Duath, today we find out that “Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness” is just a continuation of their previous EP with no clear direction and skilled (but aimlessly) guitar riffing and tight drumming. While we surely enjoyed their previous EP, we can’t help to feel a bit frustrated by the repetitive style and direction of this full-length release.

    Opening with “Fearless Under My Skin” and “Tracing the Path of Blood”, the band fully explodes into their unique weirdness and unconventional Avant-garde Jazzy style. However, nothing really feels new or unique, just a continuation of “On Death and Cosmos”. Adding into the mix the production of Eric Rutan (and some vocals on the first track), this release sounds like a million bucks, but the problem is just how convoluted the music is.

  • Code – Augur Nox (2013)


    Making a dominating comeback, today we have Code and their third full-length release “Augur Nox”. Pushing the sonic boundaries of Black Metal, this UK band delivers 12 uncompromising and very unique songs. Perfectly recuperating from the exit of long-term and unique vocalist Kvohst, Code delivers 51 minutes of very interesting and complex music on their own terms, allowing them to push their legacy to new levels.

    Opening with the contrived “Black Rumination”, the band’s unique musical signature is immediately present with intricate guitar work and catchy drum patterns. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is as good as ever with Wacian doing a great job in capturing the band’s essence. Mixing Progressive/Avant-garde elements into their music, the band further evolves their signature style on tracks like “Becoming Host”, “Ecdysis”, and “Glimlight Tourist”.

  • Glorior Belli – Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls (2013)


    After causing a lot of frowns and confusion with their solid “The Great Southern Darkness” release, France’s Glorior Belli returns with a more compact and fully integrated sound. In “Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurs” their combination of Black Metal elements with a Southern Rock and Sludge comes to full fruition and delivers one of the best albums of 2013. With their previous album being a bigger jump of what we expected, we are glad that they regained control of their sound and produced 45 minutes of brilliant music.

    Immediately as the album opens we have crushing twangy riffs that bleed Sludge and Southern Rock influences. The vocals are quite powerful and nicely complement the band’s knack for intoxicating melodies. While the band’s style change was very evident and in your face on their previous album, songs like “Wolves At My Door” and “Ain’t No Pit Deep Enough” quickly show how the tamed their explosive sound and combined better in this release.

  • Svartsyn – Black Testament (2013)


    Out of the tons of Black Metal releases we get each week at Infernal Masquerade, there are just a handful that are worth purchasing, sadly “Black Testament” is not one of them. One-man beast Ornias returns with Svartsyn and this very insipid release that while not bad, it is just too linear and predictable to generate any positive emotion from us.

    After a quite interesting and bleak intro track, the band blasts away with “Revelation In The Waters”, a very solid and punishing BM song that sadly is the only highlight of this release. After this track goes by, the rest of the songs feel just too similar. The music is quite decent indeed, but it lacks creativity and direction. We found ourselves getting pretty antsy to reach the end of the album very single time we listened to it (over five times… we counted).

  • Aborym – Dirty (2013)


    Ever since Mysticum and Diabolos Rising/Raism disappeared form the Industrial Black Metal scene, there have been countless of uninspired bands and releases trying to achieve the same level of brutality, catchiness, and overall deranged awesomeness of said bands. Malignant Eternal and Aborym are the only two bands that ever came close to said greatness. With “Dirty”, Aborym returns with a double CD release filled with crazy electronics and massive drums, a considerably better effort than their previous release “Psychogrotesque”.

    Opening with the average “Irreversible Crisis”, the band really kicks things off with the mega-catchy “Across The Universe”. Filled with very tense electronics and clean vocals, this track is nicely elevated by Faust’s supreme drumming abilities. The band nicely keeps the intensity up with “Dirty” and “Bleedthrough”, both very brutal tracks that are quite solid and well crafted. Our favorite track in this CD is the atmospheric “Rapped By Daddy”, a song that creates a very deranged atmosphere, perfect to creep out my neighbors by blasting it at 3 am on a Tuesday.

  • Beissert – Darkness:Devil:Death (2013)


    We have been very troubled by writing a review for this release since it is one very complex and intricate album that is hard to swallow in a few (dozen) spins. Building up on their already very intoxicating sound, the band brings together Groove/Technical Metal elements into some Sludge and even Heavy Metal/Hard Rock influences all coming together in some kick as Metal-with-attitude as we would describe it.

    The album starts in a confusing manner with tracks like “The Chthonic Cathedral” and “DarknessDevilDeath”, both filled with killer riffs and soaring vocals, but seem very overwhelming for opening tracks. While band’s sound is very present in said tracks, we think that maybe something more approachable and mellow as “Age Ov Darkness” (and its sick melodic riffs) would have better served as a lead-up into the band’s groovy music. However, once the first two song hump is behind you, all the rest of the release is just sweet aggressive and melodic brilliance.

  • Spektr – Cypher (2013)


    Delivering the first real stinker of the year, today we have Spektr and their latest release “Cypher”. In this nine track waste of time, the band attempts to be very experimental and avant-garde with some shitty Black Metal lined up with Drone and Industrial elements and a production that will make you want to pierce your ear drums, making effectively the most extreme POS we have heard in quite a while.

    The album opens with a boring Drone-like piece titled “Hermetism”, then they deliver the first ‘BM’ dose of the night with the totally horrible sounding “Teratology”. In this track and the next (“The Singularity”), we get to ‘enjoy’ craptastic BM riffing with even more horrible drumming all distorted by some weird studio magic effects that make it sound more kvlt and evil according to the band. While some people might enjoy getting their ears raped by some horrible sounds, we are not too keen to make our pets convulse by listening to this.

  • Endezzma – Erotik Nekrosis (2013)


    Hailing from Norway, today we have the debut full-length release of the Black Metal horde named Endezzma. In “Erotik Nekrosis” the band delivers seven tracks of very engaging BM that will surely surprise people with their melodic passages and a few interestingly odd elements that make the songs quite enjoyable.

    Opening with the very traditional “Junkyard Oblivion”, we immediately pictured another plain old-school BM release with that nasty sound that we all love. However, as the band pummels through the song, they suddenly deliver a very cool instrumental section that feels completely foreign to the overall structure of the song, and immediately make it 100 times more interesting. This vibe is again present on the Black’n’Roll-ish opening of “Enigma of the Sullen”, blowing away any preconception we had about how this album should go. This track also features a very cool atmospheric passage with even more appealing guitar work.

  • Ragnarok – Malediction (2012)


    “Holy Shit” are the first words that come to mind after listening to the latest essay in Black Metal brutality from Norway’s Ragnarok. Under the name of “Malediction”, this band unleashes their latest savage release that will blow you away since the opening riffs. Featuring ten tracks of relentless Black Metal, this is by far one of the most brutal releases we have ever heard. With the addition of Bolverk on Guitars, the band is as brutal as it has ever been in this release.

    Opening with the piercing “Blood of Saints”, the band unleashes their riffage attack very early in the album and never lets go. With crystal clear BM riffs and blazing drums they attack the listener in every single waking moment of this release. HansFyrste again does a great job handling the vocal duties and you will be hearing his demonic screams in your nightmares for days to come. Using very traditional BM structures on tracks like “Demon in My View”, the band takes advantage of their polished musical skills and excellent production to bring their destructive sound to life.

  • Forgotten Tomb - …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil (2012)


    After a very interesting “Under Saturn Retrograde”, Forgotten Tomb returns with their very weird mixture of Black Metal, Doom Metal, and Gothic Rock. In “…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” they deliver seven very inconsistent songs that the more we listen to it, the less and less we like it. Unlike “Under Saturn Retrograde”, this release just feels dull and aimless until the last two tracks that are quite decent.

    Filled with dull sluggish Black Metal tracks, the first four songs in this release are a total snorefest and it is until “Love Me Like You’d Love The Death” that the band really delivers something listenable. With the extra layer of trippy melodic elements in this track, it really helps the band craft something enjoyable and quite engaging after we were about to give up. The guitar work is also worth mentioning since it is quite good.


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