Wombbath – Agma (Transcending Obscurity)

Wednesday, 29th December 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Always a band that has had some solid credibility and backing when it comes to old school Swedish death metal, Wombbath does something a bit unexpected with their latest release, Agma.  Namely, they keep the release old school in its purest form but they have successfully updated the model.  Agma sees the band continuing to lay into that HM-2 grind that they call home with melodies galore, but they do some tweaking with the atmosphere, vocals, and even some strings.  The result is very impressive.

It’s fantastic how the band still sounds completely old school, like they have in the past, but yet there’s a newness to this record that wasn’t felt before.  Once you hit “Inquisition Reborn,” you are treated to some vocals that don’t fit the old school vibe – shouted, clean-ish vocals add a new dimension to the act.  The ones used on “Misantropi Och Forakt” take it even further and add an emotive, dark twist to the otherwise frenetic vibe of blastbeats and swirling solos and riffs.  “The Age of Death” stands as one of the strongest songs on the album, with some beautiful strings that open it up, giving it a more cinematic feel (as well as a somber one) yet it feels completely okay within the band’s soundscape.  Stomping, grooving riffs and frenzied melody sections still champion the song, but it’s opening really catches the ear, as does the somewhat spooky beginning to “In Decay They Shall All Fester,” all but carrying you into the land that the bleak purple cover art depicts.  Later cut “Scorned Existence” also works that added dynamic nicely, with focus on giving the band more creative freedom within what is traditionally a pretty defined landscape.  To that end, songs like opener “The Law of Everything” still stand as absolute rippers for those seeking only the purest of buzzsaw driven death metal with melody.

Agma should earn some deserved kudos for Wombbath’s attempt to freshen the formula this time around.  Just when you would start to think the SweDeath formula was set in stone, Wombbath set out to make sure there’s still plenty of space for creativity and innovation within the genre.  An excellent way to set 2021 into the backburner.

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