As The World Dies 🇬🇧 Agonist

3 min read

Band: As The World Dies
Title: Agonist
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: 25 March 2022
Country: UK
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

UK death metal is coming for you and it’s sounding huge. For a new band, As The World Dies have got a lot of history. Featuring Memoriam guitaristScott Fairfax, a band including ex-Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets, who guests here, the list of guest vocalists on this album is extensive.

Let me tell you for nothing, it took me a long time to figure out how to construct those opening sentences, but yeah, there are a lot of features on this record. For sure then, there’s got to be a lot of heat on As The World Dies (and this their debut album Agonist) to get so many people involved in the recording.

So what are we looking at (listening to) here? It’s death metal Jim, and pretty much as we know it, although there’s something pretty interesting to this sound. I can understand why a lot of people are getting excited by this release.

First let’s talk about atmosphere, this album has it in spades. From the opening Annulment, a pretty odd opener truth be told, and its dirty, grinding guitar tone, the heavy, oppressive atmosphere of this album is a constant. The track starts with electronic textures and an effect almost like a surface is being stretched, you wouldn’t necessarily know you’re about to be exposed to some ultra-heavy death metal. You sure are though.

Strange electronic tones and textures run through the album and add to an ominous, brooding tone. But a bit of carefully deployed synth atmospherics does not a heavy album maketh. Let it also be known that there is one absolutely pummelling rhythm section on this album. On Desolate, a deceptively mid paced up and down arpeggio guitar lineis underpinned by brutally pummelling drumming in double time. Likewise on The Tempest a full on drum assault comes like fists of volcanic debris.

That being said, on some tracks everyone plays it slow, like on standout Red Death, on which a wailing guitar line carries the track, and I feel like with this soundtrack I should be carrying a calf over my shoulders, as I climb a mountain with a thunderstorm building above me. The track also features some great strangled screams. Whether these are courtesy of guest vocalist Alex Mumford, or the band’s main vocalist Jay Price I’m not sure. The track rules though.

Later on Save The Earth offers another standout with some slick drum lines and more twisted, wailing guitars that sound satisfyingly distressed. On the following track Until You’ve Bled the music sits on its heavy atmospherics for a good two minutes before launching off into a variety of cool riffing interplay between the rhythm section and guitars.

All that aside, do I get the hype? Yes and no. There’s definitely something to this. Not every track blows me away and all the guest vocalists seem a bit of a distraction. But when death metal sounds this gigantic, so atmospheric, and kind of otherworldly, it’s hard not to be at least partially won over. It may well be that as time passes and these tracks have more time to worm their way under my skin that I’d rate this higher. For sure, one to check out and a band to follow if you’re looking for what’s new in UK death metal. 7.5/10 Tom Osman


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