Agathocles – Humarrogance

This is another strong Agathocles album, and like the previous split with Depression, shows the band moving in a more decisively death-influenced direction, but in this case with even less crust influence.  Surprisingly enough, you can compare this music fairly easily to a more measured version of many modern death-influenced grindcore bands such as Pig Destroyer or Nasum.  Much of Agathocles’ oldschool hardcore and punk roots seem to have been (at least temporarily) abandoned for this album, and the result is surprisingly good, showing that Agathocles really can play great material from all parts of the musical spectrum.

The compositional qualities on this album are pretty strange and sound rather ahead of their time in a lot of ways.  Instead of the conventional crusty song structures from before, there are more one-idea microsongs with unusual riffing styles.  Many atonal, plinky, very Pig Destroyer riffs are used, collections of low chord strumming punctuated by high, squealing notes (such as on ‘Culture Of Degradation’).  Other quickly strummed crust riffs are sometimes used, but there’s also a big oldschool death metal groove used at certain points, and a Cannibal Corpse comparison would not be off for many of these songs.  The production is sort of chaotic and I enjoy it; the guitars and bass are very wide and ‘uncollected’ and the drums are snappier than usual, creating an interesting sort of dichotomy.  The vocals are rather buried in the mix, unfortunately, but perhaps that’s a good thing as it prevents the music from obtaining an unwanted level of coherency.

The general feel of the album seems unusually aggressive, perhaps owing to the chaotic production as much as the new riffing styles.  On the occasion where Agathocles does bring back their hardcore influences, such as on ‘Kneel And Pay’, it seems to come with a renewed sense of darkness and intensity; much of the good time feel of albums like ‘Theatric Symbolisation Of Life’ is gone from this one and replaced with a darker, more serious tone.  Slow buildups project a real aura of menace before slowly slipping into a deliberate groove section or an explosion of grindcore frenzy while streams of blast beats abruptly end in detonating fills.  It’s a very intense listening experience from beginning to end.

‘Humarrogance’ is another very good Agathocles release recommended to all fans of the band or grindcore in general.  This is a favorite among many fans for a reason.  Go get it already.

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~ by noktorn on September 2, 2008.

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