Agathodaimon
Phoenix


2.5
average

Review

by Adrian USER (22 Reviews)
October 4th, 2011 | 8 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When forcing styles isn’t enough…

Agathodaimon is a band with much inconsistency, with regards to the content of their albums throughout their history. It is hard to figure out the vision of the band, as well as be a fan of their discography. They first began playing a vein of symphonic and melodic black metal with much atmosphere and an eerie vibe. Starting in Chapter III they began to incorporate gothic metal influences, but still keeping the solid work. It is after Serpent’s Embrace that their releases became much less consistent and less interesting. Now fast forward to 2009’s Phoenix, where the line-up consists of members from 2006 onward, except for the main guitarist who is the only remaining original member. After so many changes, it is only natural for there to occur changes in sound and direction. The band’s later releases have a strong modern metal influence that is commonly seen in bands such as Children of Bodom, Norther, and Dimmu Borgir which feature more accessible structures, clean vocals, and an overall catchiness. Probably the driving force for these changes is the desire to be recognized and enjoyed by many metal fans, but this is just on the surface. However, for the rest of fans that want a sound that at least seems genuine, interesting, or groundbreaking it is hard to win them over with albums such as Phoenix.

The first songs are melodic and catchy; there are keyboards, both harsh and clean vocal styles, and never too much dominance of a single instrument. This album would probably be enjoyable enough for any type of metal fan that is open-minded enough about keyboards and softer songs. Although the genre is closer to Gothic Metal, there are still a few melodic black metal elements, such as the main harsh vocal style. The clean vocals are either a hit or miss; there are many times when they add another layer to the music and make a song better by it, such as “To our Ashes”, but many other times they seem to be forced upon the music, as if they didn’t fit it appropriately. There is also an additional guttural, death-metal like vocal style as well, but thankfully has the least use. Many times there are awkward moments with the vocal styles, mainly with the growls and clean vocals. The songs would have been fine without the addition of the guttural vocals, replacing them with the already existing black metal shrieks, as if the instrumentation was really asking for it. The keyboards could be more interesting and varying; they serve more as background, while the guitars keep the song going. The guitars offer fairly interesting and enjoyable parts here and there, but mostly play the same types of sound overall.

Probably if this band had just formed recently, and ignoring the material written before 2004, the album would be received differently. It is not necessarily that Phoenix is a terrible album, but rather, just so different from what the band produced before it. There is very little atmosphere and a sense of déj*-vu towards the ending of Phoenix. There are many elements and songs, varying tempo, three vocal styles, and occasional unpredictable parts. But there are very few moments that really stand out in the way that their past works did. And it’s not that the band’s work was genre defining or groundbreaking in any sense, but they were able to really produce something that had atmosphere and a genuine feeling of emptiness and despair. Phoenix really lacks a feeling or real honesty and passion, as the previous releases did. Many parts sound forced, in the sense that they were placed just to add more to the music, or to have more styles. Not all is lost, because Phoenix can at times feel very emotional (Grey Whisper is another example of this), but they don’t occur as often as they should. At this point it doesn’t matter if the material is something completely new to the genre, or about trying things no one has done before, but about producing music that at least contains passion and real feelings of the artists that create them, even if they recycle styles that have been repeated to death by contemporaries. Maybe the next release will focus more on honesty, as opposed to following recent trends that bring down the level of the music.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
October 4th 2011


44805 Comments


Band name sounds like a Digimon.

cvlts
October 4th 2011


8985 Comments


really good review brah. though there's a couple, misplaced, commas in the beginning.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2011


19067 Comments


One of the first "black metal" bands i ever heard back in the day, can still nostalgia over Chapter III but yeah this is bad.

Good review.

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

ShadowRemains
October 5th 2011


21639 Comments


this sounds fruity as fuck

lobby
October 5th 2011


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

also one of the first melodic BM albums, should give it another spin

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2011


7127 Comments


This sounds a bit 'meh'

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012


1922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't generally have a problem with this album to be honest. The vocals aren't the best, and those first few tracks really fail in my opinion, but towards the end that album improves in terms of songwriting and musicianship. I was thinking of reviewing this but your review says about everything i would have said. Nice work.

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

darkwargreymon
April 8th 2012


188 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album is not too impressive, it conforms to a softer, more mainstream approach. Its very uninspired to say the least.



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