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Polish black metal band Christ Agony have been operating for around two decades. My sole deep contact with the band is 'Moonlight - Act III', which I've been playing every now and then since it was released in 1996. Another one is 'Darkside' (1997), and I remember having not many positive thoughts that album... So, here we are at the end of 2011, and Christ Agony have returned with their eighth studio full length album, entitled 'Nocturn'.
The music is nothing too technical (however, it's not minimalistic, either), but then again, it's thrice as catchy. Heavy doom/death guitar riffs blend well together with black metal stylings. A heavy rhythm section provides the backbone, which does not give in, no matter if they are blasting it mid-paced, or rambling through more saturnine vibes. Think of modern Immortal clashing with Bolt Thrower, with some doomy frequencies added, and you are pretty close to how Christ Agony sound nowadays.
Talking about the present Christ Agony... The band have always had revolving doors, as commander Cezar (vocals and guitar; also in Moon etc.) has steered this steely battleship of Satan, now being accompanied by ex-Profanum bassist Reyash and drummer Inferno, he of Azarath and Behemoth. So, it isn't a surprise, that performances are of top knowhow. However, it is great to hear, that the band haven't changed music-wise that much from the days of 'Moonlight - Act III'. So, the atmosphere is very much thick, and credible, too. It's not quite as ritualistic as on that aforementioned album, though. In all, the music might at first sound quite simplistic, but it is not, and many, many nuances elevate the whole. That's not to say, that there is nothing happening in the songs, no! They live and breathe, and never for too long. Christ Agony's melodics tend to be such, that I'm humming a song I'm listening to.
Production-wise 'Nocturn' is fine job. No triggered drums, but simply thundering ones, heavy yet balanced soundscape, and the nuances are nicely discernible. Something is very, very similar to 'Moonlight - Act III', and that is Cezar's unique raspy black metal voice, which can be broodingly evil or ripping. Some cleanly articulated vocals raise the ritual-o-meter a bit. Christ Agony's sound is still easily recognizable.
For weeks, I've thought about what to write about 'Nocturn', and here it all now is. A fine album from a fine band. This made me enthusiastic to check out all of the band's discography now. And this newbie ain't a bad place to start, either, as the band still rule in what they do. Get this, if you are looking for thundering darkness!
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.co in 2011)