Agrimonia’s output has always been defined by its dense sound packed with flavours from across the extreme metal spectrum, but their fourth LP takes even greater strides into uncharted territories, borrowing more heavily from the realm of prog. That’s not to say the band – whose experienced line-up includes members of At The Gates, Skitsystem and Martyrdöd – has gone full Opeth, but there are certainly touches of the Swedish prog metal giant’s grand sound present amongst the raucous.
At their core, Agrimonia continue to strike a complementary mix of callous black metal, steamrolling metallic punk and slick post-metal, creating a sound that delights in its crushing weight but also immerses you in its more emotive flourishes, at all times retaining a penchant for both hefty weight and poignant atmospherics without compromising one for the other. Even at their most progressive, Agrimonia remain ruthlessly potent, due in no small part to consistently thunderous riffs and Christina Blom’s razor-sharp roars.
As with the group’s previous efforts, Awaken comprises lengthy, forward-thinking compositions (with the exception of the much more succinct instrumental interlude that is the title-track) that seamlessly drift from one musically diverse moment to another without dropping the on-running menacing atmosphere, wielding the sort of shrewd song-crafting ability that few can muster without the results sounding haphazard and misguided. The album’s treacherous assault can be a lot to take in, but even at their most ambitious, every note feels essential, making for a lengthy endeavour that’s well worth the effort.
Awaken is out now on Southern Lord Records.
Words: George Parr