Saturday, May 3, 2014

Agonised - Total Devastation

With Total Devastation, the 2013 demo from Agonised, listeners will be rewarded with proof positive of the still-existent love of Swedish death metal in this modern age. While the demo may seem short with only two original songs and a cover of Morgoth's "Sold Baptism," the two originals present are longer run-time than normal. Together clocking in at almost fourteen minutes, I don't feel ripped off time wise or quality wise with these tracks. They are of quite a high caliber. The efforts of lone Spaniard Bourbon Devastator, Agonised is poised to surprise death metal fans. Obviously there is a huge influence from bands like Grave and Entombed but also an eminent Asphyx flavor runs through the recording. Similarly, Bourbon shares more in common vocally with Van Drunen or John Tardy with his wretched slurred drawls slithering across riffs with ease. Released by Black Mass Records on cassette, this is surely a worthwhile demo to add to any collection, especially those with a love for the Swedish style. The guitar tone is classic, the riffs are memorable and defined and the performance of all instruments is well done. There is very little to complain about.

Opening the demo, an intro with some campy pitch shifted spoken vocals. "Putrid Thoughts" is the opening track really, then, and it starts out fast and with fervor mixing some tremolo riffs over faster thrash drum beats and thick HM2 drenched riffs. The song devolves into a crawl before long with some noise adding texture. At over five minutes long, it's a lengthy opening track but it remains interesting. A solo halfway into the track is reminiscent of Ashpyx. If a gripe exists, it's that the song remains slower too long. The demo's title track rounds out the originals nicely. It too is quite lengthy at eight minutes long but it retains a more mid-fast tempo longer. I might have preferred it as the opener on the demo but midway through the track a harmonized melody riff patiently drifts over long thick chords that end the original material quite nicely. I get a similar vibe with Agonised that I did with Deathevokation's debut demo, especially during these solo sections.

One noticeable aspect to the recording is that it is one-sided and might benefit from a second mind incorporating some different ideas into the songs. This is generic but in this case, it's not a bad thing since the tracks are strong and interesting. With a Morgoth cover rounding out the material, Total Devastation should turn a few heads that keep an eye out for these kind of releases. For those that don't, they're missing out on some great death metal with definite old school charm.

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