by Scott Hefflon
The Agony Scene may be Jesus-lovers, but they roar like demons. Produced by Adam Dutkiewicz, guitarist of Killswitch Engage, this self-titled release opens like that eye-watering blast of heat when you first walk into a store from the outside cold. And unlike most of their contemporaries, they don’t bore you back to those same tears after a couple songs by driving the couple good ideas they have into the ground, relying on thundering production to impress the sheep.
There are moments of fearsome noise here, howls from hell, stuttering riffs to make you look foolish if you try to snap your fingers to it, and plenty – plenty – of jaw-dropping moments to make you thrust forward and turn to the similarly awe-struck person next to you and say “Daaaamn, these guys rule!”
There’s a cover of the Stones’ “Paint it Black” I can do without, but of the ten songs of smart, dynamic sonic mayhem, a few minutes of “that doesn’t quite crossover, huh?” is a small price to pay. Highly recommended for anyone sick of the dumbed-down nü metal crap that’s all homogenized thunder with no riffs to sink yer teeth into, all bluster and no style…
(PO Box 12698 Seattle, WA 98111)