Review Summary: The last album by The Agony Scene and one that will be seen by many as wasted potential. While not a bad album, it is one that is full of filler.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
The Agony Scene. The name alone invoked hate, as many saw them as just another metalcore band that did nothing to make them stand out from the crowd. Many people cheered their demise as yet another sign of metalcore’s demise in the very near future. Are people wrong in this assumption? No, they are not. They were nothing special with their instruments, their lead singer was either love-him-or-hate-him, and they are stalked by “scene” kids. They played unabashed metalcore, with breakdowns galore. They stay away from real clean vocals, except in one case. They were a band with just as many detractors as fans, and maybe rightfully so. In 2004, the simultaneously gained and lost many fans with The Darkest Red
. I personally was a fan of The Darkest Red
, and bought this album with no apprehension, nor with even listening to a track. In retrospect, maybe a visit to their MySpace would have been a smart decision, as there is quite a bit of filler.
As previously mentioned, The Agony Scene played breakdown-laden metalcore. They did nothing to re-invent the wheel (despite what the bio on this site says,) and no member was a virtuoso with their respective instrument. This is not to say that their work on this album is not adequate, just that nothing jumps out at you. The guitarists come up with some great riffs, albeit nothing mind-blowing. The drumming is what sticks out most in the production, and while not that technical, has great double bass, and keeps with the songs very well. Bass is nonexistent, but is expected these days. The lead singer Mike Williams has a strong voice, and sound akin to Heaven Shall Burn. The breakdowns are nothing amazing, but, honestly, they are breakdowns, is anyone blown away by a breakdown anymore?
A few songs jump out more than others. The opener “Barnburner” is a strong and fast opener and “Dances with Devils”, while having almost stupid lyrics, is another fast and fun song with a great chorus. Another is “Rapture”, which is the second best on the album, and it goes at a breakneck pace the entire song, only slowing down slightly as the chorus. And the last song of note is “Old Scratch”, the closer and best song on the album, with the only sung parts on the album, being the chorus where he sings, “Let the angels above me, pour their wrath down upon me.” Not the best lyrics, not the worst, which is the case for most of the album, mediocre lyrics that focus purely on death, very much like The Darkest Red
. The production is a bit of an issue as well, as the guitars sound oddly thin in places and sometimes the vocals get pushed to the back
Unfortunately the rest of the album is riddled in filler, and plagues the whole of the album. The tone for the album also never changes, and become very monotonous after a spell. The album has potential in many spots but is never realized with the over abundance of throwaway songs that end up going nowhere. It is not a terrible album by any means, but it is a step down from The Darkest Red
and a step behind contemporaries such as August Burns Red and As I Lay Dying. If only The Agony Scene could have taken the anger and heavy riffs from The Darkest Red
and combine it with some of the raw energy from this album they might have had something great on their hands but with their recent break-up, they will always be a band that was just untapped potential.