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Brooding Evil... - 80%

XuL_Excelsi, December 25th, 2009

Christ Agony is a relatively unknown black metal band hailing from Poland. It is no surprise then that “Daemoonseth Act II” hardly receives mention, even amongst fans of the truly obscure. It’s a pity not many people will get to hear this interesting album, and those that do probably won’t give it the attention it so rightly deserves.

It is a rarity to find an album that manages to create such an intense atmosphere with minimal instruments and no smoke or mirrors. The fact that a release as good as this goes by almost completely unnoticed is a testament to the severe attention deficit of the modern metal fan. It seems instant gratification is the order of the day, with songs that explode from the get-go and have an effect that lasts only as long as their duration being most popular. It is a sadness that a 10-minute song is seen by most as something to endure, rather than something to experience, to enjoy. “Daemoonseth Act II” is deeply rewarding to those with the attention span to do it justice. I’m hard-pressed to find a better minimalist and melodic BM album.

Judging by its obscurity, this album boasts way better production than one would expect. The distinct yet subtle nuances throughout “Daemoonseth Act II” make it a truly dark album in spite of its beautiful harmonies. A perfect balance was achieved between the evil that Christ Agony’s name suggests and uncharacteristic melody and emotion. A bare approach was taken to this music, focusing on what can be taken away, as opposed to adding redundant effects and layers of instruments. Every sound on every song is indispensable. All instruments were mixed perfectly, with no instrument overpowering another, and all the parts clear and balanced.

As I’ve mentioned before, this album is very minimalist. The most basic of riffs and rhythms are used effectively to invoke profound emotion. Repetition is applied excellently, sparingly, the songs don’t drag. The tone of the guitars is spot-on, and the riffs consist of many diminished notes and resonating chords, often switching to palm-muted power-chords in a death metal vein. The drums have immense depth, the production makes them huge and powerful. Many slower rhythms are present throughout the songs, occasionally erupting into aggressive double-bass driven beats. Bass is unremarkable, but fitting, complimenting the guitars well.

Cezar’s vocals are incredibly dark and evil, carrying the music spectacularly. His shrieks are distinctly black metal, but somehow unique and recognizable. The vocals, like the lyrics, are dripping with hatred, juxtaposed with the slow, melodic music.

The overall effect of “Daemoonseth Act II” is nothing short of epic. However, it seems this album is doomed to obscurity, since very few give it the time of day. The songs remain enormous, and I remain impressed. Christ Agony punch way above their weight here, an effort worthy of repeated listens.