As The World Dies – Agonist – Album Review

Artist: As The World Dies

Album Title: Agonist

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date of Release: 25 March 2022

When you’re presented with a brand-new death metal band from the UK that features members of Memoriam and Pemphigoid, and whose output is said to draw parallels with the likes of Bolt Thrower and Grave, it would be a cardinal sin as far as I’m concerned, to not take a listen. As The World Dies is the name given to this new extreme metal outfit whose debut ‘Agonist’ is being released on the increasingly impressive Transcending Obscurity Records label.

In terms of personnel, As The World Dies is a quintet comprised of vocalist Jay Price, guitarists Scott Fairfax and Ash Cotterill, bassist Bill Richmond, and drummer Chris McGrath. And with the likes of Memoriam’s Scott Fairfax involved, you can probably guess that ‘Agonist’ is a suitably uncompromising affair. What you might not have anticipated however, is the amount of atmosphere that’s created, the variety across the album, or indeed the amount of memorable melodically tinged material that features. It all comes together to produce a record that is certain to pique the interest of fans of UK death metal if my opinion of ‘Agonist’ is anything to go by.

Mind you, I nearly missed out on this album altogether if I’m honest, because the band name, logo, and artwork led me initially to presume that As The World Dies was more of a modern metalcore band, or something more of that ilk. In reality, ‘Agonist’ creates a brutal soundscape that celebrates all that’s great about UK death metal, whilst mixing in a few different ideas here and there. For example, the atmosphere has, at times, something of an industrial sheen to it, as demonstrated within compositions like ‘Day Of Reckoning’. The brutality here is blended with bold dystopian sounds, and gurgling Ministry-like bass rumbles, not to mention an impressive variation in tempo and intensity, from forceful pummelling to moments that border on minimalism – and it’s all achieved in less than five succinct minutes.

This shouldn’t be a surprise though, because listening to the opening track, ‘Annulment’, with its striking electronic sounds that are merged with Jay Price’s guttural growls and slow, inexorable, steamroller riffs, the band make no secret of their desire to create bold, atmospheric statements here right from the get-go. Indeed, ‘Save The Earth’ continues the theme albeit later on the record, certainly in terms of the use of electronic effects, vocal samples, and buckets of atmosphere to compliment the crushingly heavy, churning riffs. The groove that ensues though, is savagely brilliant, as is the subtle changes of pace within the song. They may only be brief bursts, but the increased tempo stands out as a result.

If you’re looking for a slice of death metal that’s a speedy and technical whirlwind of barbarity though, then As The World Dies is probably not for you. This is death metal after all, so there are tracks on ‘Agonist’ that raise the tempo, such as ‘Thin Out The Herd’ which features faster riffing and lead guitar embellishments that accent the increased pace. However, the most frequently used method of attack is via chunky, muscular riffing, around which all else is built. The closing track, ‘As The World Dies’ is the best and most prominent example of this, and it’s an insanely good composition, it really is. The guitar tone, as it is across the album from Fairfax and Cotterill, is simply delicious; evil sounding but also resonant, the kind that begs neck muscles to join in and which are hard to deny. The song is so damn groovy, it’s incredible, and the end result is like a force of nature. It sweeps you up and carries you off on a tidal wave of unstoppable, incessant groove, an evil grin planted on my face each and every time the song begins.

I mentioned earlier that ‘Agonist’ is also a melodic beast and this statement is best proven via ‘Red Death’ and ‘Until You’ve Bled’. The former is a four-minute exercise in full-on melodic death metal, albeit not in the manner of an Arch Enemy, or an In Flames. No, this song is melodic, but in a way that’s just as heavy and thunderous as all of the other tracks on this record. The result is, nevertheless, a highly memorable and catchy composition that has an air of the epic about it, whilst never sacrificing the brutality one iota.

‘Until You’ve Bled’ is, by contrast, a more nuanced and varied composition, with a central section that’s all-out memorable, anthemic melody. Surrounding it are plenty of tempo shifts as well as moments of intense atmosphere, and powerful rhythms from drums and bass alike. This is without doubt a personal favourite, as it seeks to encapsulate everything that’s great about the music of this talented band; it’s the perfect song to justify why As The World Dies deserves the plaudits that are undoubtedly coming their way, because plaudits will come, mark my words. 2022 has been flooded with good music so far, and this debut from As The World Dies is yet another great album to add to the ever-increasing list.

The Score of Much Metal: 88%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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