Agrimonia – Awaken (Southern Lord)

Friday, 19th January 2018
Rating: 8/10

Swedish troupe Agrimonia appears to be so invested into the band concept that they don’t even bother to highlight the fact At the Gates rhythm guitarist Martin Larsson is holding down the bass, or, they have an acidic lead vocalist in the form of Christina Blom. These are easy points for a journalist or public relations rep to point out; Agrimonia just goes with the flow, for lack of a better term. As such, Awaken, the follow-up to 2013’s Rites of Separation yields a rather distinctive blend of post- and atmospheric metal, which, really, eludes proper categorization.

Perhaps it is their Gothenburg roots, but some kind of melody is usually working its way around these cuts. They’re not the usual peppy, if not saccharine type, but instead, the kind of serve-and-volley with brutish, stonewalled guitars that provides an ample degree of balance, like on opener “A World Unseen.” The post-metal angle makes its subsequent mark on “Astray,” while the rambling, potent, punchy “Withering,” in its near-13 minutes of execution, is a literal composite of Agrimonia’s sonic sphere, including a well-placed melodic, soft-guitar drop-out. Progressive post-metal, anyone?

Agrimonia are well off the conventional beaten path, clearly operating without the safety net of subgenre norms and ideals. For that (and the reasons listed above), they’re a refreshing entity, who, on Awaken, show off the ability to write elongated songs equal in measure and execution. Score one for solidarity. Agrimonia (wonderfully) stick out like a sore thumb.