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Agrimonia > Agrimonia > Reviews > Thumbman
Agrimonia - Agrimonia

It's Crusty And From Sweden? Of Course It's Good. - 93%

Thumbman, June 29th, 2013

There must be something in the water in Sweden. Just the sheer amount of disproportional good heavy music that comes out of the country doesn't make sense. The greatness of the Swedeath scene is well documented, the Gothenberg melodic death metal sound, while not my favorite, has surely made a huge impact. They definitely have their fare share of good traditional and doom metal bands, as well. The punk scene is also legendary. We've got an alarming amount of great hardcore (d-beat is big there) and crust bands. We've got stuff like Avskum, Mob 47, Anti Cimex, Wolfbrigade and Skitsystem (which translate to Shit System in English). Sweden has no doubt had a tremendous impact on the grittier side of punk. Featuring members who have played with the likes of At The Gates, Miasmal and punk heavyweights Martyrdöd and Atomvinter, the musicianship is consistently high quality. Sweden prevails once again with this gritty blend of crust and extreme metal.

When it comes to metal with punk leanings, this really has everything I'm looking for. It's melodic, it's really heavy and completely expansive. While Agrimonia are very close to the whole melodic crust scene, there is a lot more going on. Featuring no shortage of sludge, well done borderline post-rock sections and tons of the anger associated with punk, Agrimonia's debut is no doubt a powerful one. They run a wide range of dynamics - they know when to hit hard, they know when to get melodic and they definitely know when to relinquish the heavy material in favor of more atmospheric leanings. The heavier material is unrelentingly powerful and the lighter sections do well to carve out an amiable head space. Everything present on the album is a great mix; nothing shows even remote signs of clashing.

The vocals fall strictly under the crust banner. Featuring a raspy bite and a visceral hardcore kick, they make sure the metal never loses its despondent hostility. They occasionally do drop to a lower growl. I didn't realize this until long after I discovered the band, but the vocalist is female. You can vaguely hear the difference between male vocals in a few parts if you really try to seek it out, but these distinctions really are miniscule. She gives just as an abrasive performance as any male vocalist. Given the wide range of styles they draw from, the riffs do tend to vary. We've got the more melodic ones, sludgier sluggers, and faster hard hitting ones displaying their punk roots with pride. What almost surely is the best part of the album exists on "The Decay". The cinematic arabesque tremolo riffing picks everything up and remain both heavy and undeniably catchy.

Despite their strong brand of sludgy melodic crust, Agrimonia look outside of the heavy pantheon. Drawing on lighter styles, this gives the album a great balance between ugliness and beauty. Perhaps the best comparison would be to post-rock, but this certainly doesn't sound like your middle of the road post-rock outfit. Many sections are sleepy, eventually picking up steam and building up, only to wind back down again. The picturesque twanging on "Leaves Fall Rotten" wholly captures the encompassing vibe they're going for. With only two of the five songs being under the ten minute mark (with both songs just falling short of nine minutes), leaving room for an atmosphere to develop was a great idea.

Looks like Sweden has come out swinging once again. Agrimonia adds to the impressive number of punk and metal bands in the country. Featuring members of notable Swedish giants, this is a really well done piece. The meat of the music is of industrial strength levels of sturdiness and the lighter sections give the release an expansive feel. This is an absolutely successful burst onto the scene. It's unwashed enough to capture it's rough punk nature, and melodic and has enough lighter section to invoke a wide pallet. This is an enjoyable album through and through and yet another victory in Sweden's pocket.