Welsh death metal band Agrona blast onto the scene and lays devastation in its wake. Well, that’s what the headlines should read. It’s about time a band of this genre stepped up to become the new Cannibal Corpse.
The band recently signed up to British label UKEM Records and got straight to work on their first full-length album Realm Of The Fallen. They may look a grim bunch, their faces emblazoned with corpse paint but this isn’t your usual death/black metal band. No, these guys are easily on a par with bands like Carcass. Don’t get me wrong there’s blast beat galore and plenty of hellacious growls but they are much more than that. Their name Agrona is taken from the Celtic goddess of war and these guys are ready to start a war.
Realm Of The Fallen – The review
As the “Intro” rolls in with a sombre tone and a sinister edge it builds and builds as the chants and choirs of a thousand voices fill the air and then we’re off with the first track proper “The Treacherous Dead.” There’s plenty of depth in this track the mass of layered vocals along with the deep guttural growls could peel the paint of your local church without stepping over the threshold. The guitars are thick and combine perfectly with the double kick and rolls. From there we roll into “Apotheosis” which starts off with a crushing blast beat and fast picked guitar. The guitars give it almost early punk like tone but as they drone in and out it’s the orchestral sections in the background which catch my ear.
“Burn” has a melodic guitar tone playing over the intro while the rest of the band blast beats your earholes into submission. This is a well-played track which is as heavy as shit but well played throughout. There is some fantastic guitar work on this track which again is very melodic but still fits the heaviness of the track. A crack of thunder and we’re into “Storms End.” I love the almost military style rolls that start this one off along with the accompanying guitar. If this one doesn’t get your head nodding or your fist pumping then you must be dead. Don’t be fooled by the calm opening though cause it’s all out war from there.
“Immaterium” is filled with blast beats from the off and some of the most gut wrenching screams I’ve ever heard. This is some scary vocals they almost sound demonic in nature. Again this one has some punk overtones mixed in with black/death metal style which I think is a good mixture. I love the opening riff on “Unbound” it sounds off key and sinister. This is almost a straight ahead thrasher with vocals which are easily decipherable and some added gang vocals to boot.
“Risen” reminds me of very early Sepultura in its riffing and even the vocal style but morphs into a mixture of death and melodic thrash. Final track “Summoning the Void” sounds so atmospheric and orchestral at the same time. I love the symphonic sounds on this and personally think it’s the best track on here, always save the best for last as they say. The riff is hard and staccato and fits the song and vocals precisely.
Final thoughts on Realm Of The Fallen
Personally, I’m not a big fan of Death/black metal. Usually, the farthest I’ve strayed into this territory is early Sepultura and Carcass. The thing that pulled me into this band is the great musicianship, the guitars just sound so good and even though they are played at high speed throughout they still have that melodic and punky taste. The orchestral sections wavering around in the intros and throughout the background of most tracks just add something different to this album. The vocal style changes throughout ranging from death growls to banshee wails and guttural thrash, which is a big plus as it doesn’t sound all the same as most of these type of bands do. I think they have something here and i’d bet my bottom dollar they are the next big thing in their genre.
Decibel rating 8/10