Agonia Records: Aosoth + The Moth Gatherer + Tombstone Highway + Beissert

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Reviews by Jason Guest

For youAgonia Records Logor reading pleasure today kiddies, we have a quartet of quality releases from Agonia Records:

  • Aosoth – IV: An Arrow In Heart
  • The Moth Gatherer – A Bright Celestial Light
  • Tombstone Highway – Ruralizer
  • Beissert – Darkness: Devil: Death

 

Aosoth – IV: An Arrow In Heart

Nope, this is no homage to Cupid. There’s no romance here. Only darkness. With album number four, IV: An Arrow In Heart, Aosoth have deployed all of their hellish implements for its execution: tremolo-picked riffs, blast beats, and plenty in the way of raw shrieks from the very kennel of Beelzebub’s bitches. While the two opening tracks demonstrate Aosoth’s unique and refined approach, with ‘Temple of Knowledge’ the album becomes something completely different. From here, the atmospheric passages across this album are breath-taking. Whether claustrophobic, vast and expansive, or turbulent, they are always enthralling and when juxtaposed with the band’s blackened wrath, the tracks become all the more chilling, cold, and cutting. Where ‘Broken Dialogue 1’ experiments with cleaner sounds and dialogue, layering the heavier passages with discordant guitar lines and haunting keyboard sounds, ‘Broken Dialogue 2’ is more a dark ambient piece, its open space coloured with an atonal guitar line sat on its deepening horizon that segues perfectly into the monstrous ‘Ritual Marks Of Penitence’. Augmented by dissonant riffs, subtle melodies, and clean acoustic passages, Aosoth have crafted a mighty beast of an album that takes them further into subterranean territories, disconcerting sounds and distressing vistas. This is an album to spend time with. A lot of it.

9 out of 10

Tracklisting:

  1. An Arrow in Heart
  2. One With the Prince with a Thousand Enemies
  3. Temple of Knowledge
  4. Under the Nails and Fingertips
  5. Broken Dialogue 1
  6. Broken Dialogue 2
  7. Ritual Marks of Penitence

 

The Moth Gatherer – A Bright Celestial Light

Sweden post-metal duo The Moth Gatherer’s third album sees the band expanding their horizons ever further into uncharted sonic territory by upping the experimentation and pushing the progressive element of their sound. With mutation, invention, and innovation being central to their music, The Moth Gatherer is much greater than the sum of their parts. In their hands, musical boundaries become fluid and the ensuing ebb and flow between genres produces a sound that is all the band’s own. Exotic rhythms, gently strummed acoustic guitar chords, post-hardcore potency, atmospheres that are as bleak and isolating as they are disconcerting and moving, the mood across the album is one of introspection, of a melancholic contemplation, a search almost for a deep understanding of what perpetually lays just outside the periphery of our collective vision. Multi-layered and richly textured, this is an album that has to be digested in its entirety. While the tracks are all incredible and stand strong individually, like the band, this is greater taken as a whole. Highly recommended.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Water That We All Come To Need
  2. Intervention
  3. A Road Of Gravel And Skulls
  4. The Womb, The Woe, The Woman
  5. A Falling Deity

 

Tombstone Highway – Ruralizer

With only one EP to their name, 2007’s Padus River Garveyard Blues, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that Southern/Stoner/Doom worshippers, Tombstone Highway’s ghost had been well and truly given up on this side project, but six years down the line, their schedules have aligned and the début album is now upon us. While the central duo of Tombstone Highway – singer/guitarist H.M. Outlaw of blackened doomsters Forgotten Tomb and drummer Emilio “S.O.B.” Sobacchi – make little attempt to conceal their influences, they also do little in the way of integrating them into their own sound to create something new or original. The end product, then, is more derivative than distinctive. Opener ‘Old Blood’ could’ve been lifted straight off of Pride and Glory’s sole album; the stomping ‘Acid Overlord’ reeks of Down’s début; ‘Graveyard Blues’ is Pepper Keenan-fronted COC; the title track is Skynyrd laced with Zakk Wylde pinch harmonic squeals and COC/Down grooves; and ‘Bite The Dust’ is all ZZ Top Vegas blues, slide riffs, blues-shuffle rhythms, and balls-length beards. Far from a bad album, this may not be original but it’s a pretty good homage fit to waste a booze-fuelled weekend away with.

6 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Old Blood
  2. Acid Overlord
  3. Graveyard Blues
  4. Hellfire Rodeo
  5. Ruralizer
  6. Bite The Dust (And Bleed)
  7. At The Bitter End
  8. Mississippi Queen (Mountain Cover)
  9. Hangman’s Friend

 

Beissert – Darkness: Devil: Death

With two intense and excruciatingly heavy tracks to open the album, Darkness: Devil: Death very quickly hits the high gears. Brimming with hooks, catchy choruses, monster riffs, mob vocals, thrash riffs and double-kick drums thrown into the mix as well as a plethora of leads laced with pinch harmonic squeals and dive-bombs, groove metal is the order of the day for Germany’s Beissert. Yet while the classic and melodic metal aspects of their sound are handled deftly and discerningly, Beissert seem to run out of ideas Where ‘My Path Is Your Wrath’ falls flat with its weak chorus and flat drumming, the vocals in ‘Perm Trias’ are excruciating, the riffs basic, and the structure too simplistic.  ‘I Am The Lore’ sounds like a different band altogether. ‘Do What Thou Wilt’, well, it wilts. But all is not lost as ‘De Profundis Clamavi’ and ‘Die Diamantenen Tore Der Hoelle [Polaris]’ come to the rescue and return Beissert to the former glory of the first three tracks. Unfortunately, for most of the album, style takes precedence over substance and the music suffers for it. Had Beisert stuck with the groove metal of the first three tracks, this would have been killer.

5 out of 10

Tracklisting:

  1. Thy Chthonic Cathedral
  2. Darknessdevildeath
  3. Age Ov Darkness
  4. Zorn Der Geister
  5. My Path Shall Be Your Wrath
  6. Perm Trias
  7. I Am The Lore
  8. Do What Thou Wilt
  9. DXXXV
  10. De Profundis Clamavi
  11. Die Diamantenen Tore Der Hoelle [Polaris]