Agiel’s James Taylor: What I’m Listening ToSaturday, 25th January 2014
When I find an album that really moves me I tend to obsess over it. I’ll spin the same rotation of CDs for months on end. I want to hear everything that the artist has to say through the music and appreciate every aspect of it. It drives everyone around me insane, but I can’t help it. A masterpiece is a masterpiece and I never tire of listening to them. Most of the albums that I’m currently obsessing over were all written by black metal bands. Black metal is usually featured pretty heavily in my playlist. I love the raw intensity of the production, its harshness and the rebelliousness that saturates the style.
The most recent release in my playlist is Ylem by Dark Fortress. Released in 2011, this is one of my favorite newer releases. The intensity of this album is unreal. From the first few seconds to the haunting final track, what the band created here is incredible. I love how completely fearless this band is to experiment with unusual sonic textures and arrangements. The range of vocal intonations and cadences are a favorite of mine as well. The production on this release is polished, but not to the point of taking any of the life and aggression out of it. Any time I throw this album on I get immediately energized and reinvigorated.
The next album getting a lot of play in my CD player is the 2004 release by Anorexia Nervosa, Redemption Process. This album also strikes a good balance between raw power and modern refinement though the production definitely favors brutality over subtlety. That’s what struck me about this album when I first listened to it. Every song moves as together like a single-minded juggernaut. The orchestration of the keyboard tracks melds perfectly with the guitar to sound like a single unnatural instrument. My only wish for this album was that there were more tracks on it! Every time I reach the end of the CD I’m left wanting more, which I suppose is one of the hallmarks of a great album.
There is so much good music available now that no matter how amazing a band is they sometimes escape your notice. That’s the case with the next band I’m obsessing over. I’d heard a few tracks from the Swedish black metal band Watain before, but it wasn’t until I had the privilege of seeing them live in Philadelphia on the 2012 Decibel Magazine tour that I gained a deep appreciation for their music. It was incredible. They had the whole place under their spell; myself included. Through unmatched showmanship they invoked a dark, otherworldly atmosphere; enveloping us like an endless abyss. Their 2010 release Lawless Darkness has been seeing a lot of time in my CD player. What I love and what truly impresses me is how this CD brings me instantly back to that place. There is real magic captured on this album and I think it will stand as timeless masterpiece.
Agiel’s new EP, Dark Pantheons, is due March 5th via Deepsend Records. For more information on the band, head over to their Facebook page.