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Agnosis is one of the most innovative metal acts in recent years. A cornucopia of eclectic influences ranging from Black Sabbath through Alice in Chains and Neurosis, this young New York-based band rocks hard with a cerebral yet decidedly unpretentious and raw sound. "Zero" has its rough spots, to be sure, but underlying every calculated imperfection is a refreshing and even surprising energy that pervades the album from start to finish.
"Sharpening the Axe..." kicks things off with a taste of things to come, starting with a single guitar and building to a cacophany of monster riffs, complete with double-kick drum fills and apocalyptic soloing courtesy of axe-man himself Robin Koytcheff. "A Kick in the Ribs While You're Down" propels forward on a driving bass groove and shifting time signatures, while "A Lifetime Later" benefits from a doom-like interlude that accelerates to a feverish pitch. "Swore My Soul" features excellent interplay between lead singer Aerik Von (whose versatility shows in his frequent use of both clean and growled vocals) and guest vocalist (and sound engineer) Austin Lunn, while the nine-minute-plus "Against the Sun" expands upon a simple ABAB song structure while somehow managing to avoid all trappings of repetitiveness.
In all, "Zero" is a album that requires your attention throughout — and Agnosis is a band to keep an eye on. If you're in the New York area, I highly recommend you seek them out. They're about as real as it gets, if you ask me.