The Darkest Red is an album poised to crack the contents of each and every spectator’s skull all over the floor. "We are really, really proud of this album," declares drummer (and co-founding member) Brent Masters. "When we wrote The Darkest Red, we weren’t taking much of an influence from anybody. We were just writing parts that felt good to us. “We put a lot into this record because we were trying to break away from being The Agony Scene that everyone knew."
The band’s self-titled debut (produced by Killswitch Engage’s Adam D.) was filled with promise, but admittedly saw them wearing their Swedish Death Metal and dissonance-soaked hardcore influences on their sleeves. It was a solid start... But with this new album, their first since reforming with a recharged lineup after a rocky breakup, The Agony Scene has fully come into their own. The Darkest Red fuses crusty-punk dissonance, crushingly brutal breakdowns, European metallic-harmony, a bit of melodic singing and pulverizing rhythms like never before. The entire proceedings have been injected with a disharmonic breadth and expansive destruction.
The Agony Scene is…
They are a metalcore band with a sound that is different and unique from other metalcore and metal acts. Vocalist, Mike Williams, has a great screaming and growling voice, along with pleasant clean vocals. Drummer, Brent Masters, is one of the best in the business. Playing complicated fills, and using the double-bass numerous times throughout this album, he has grown to be a favorite of mine. Guitarists, Chris Emmons and Steve Kaye, usually play some simple riffs that sound sometimes like they are repeated throughout the album, but it seems to work, and it is definitely enjoyable. There are some complicated riffs here and there, and although there are no solos throughout the album, you can expect some solid guitar work. The bass played by Brian Hodges isn’t to audible, but when heard is very solid.
I think I’ll just go on to the track by track now.
Track by Track
1. Prelude (1:15)
No real reason to give a review on this. Good intro track.
2. The Darkest Red (3:50)
The first song off the album starts off with a couple of drum rolls by Brent Masters. Then the guitars and bass come in, starting the album off with a bang. The verse starts with Mike speaking the words, “I bleed this blashphemy, the sin that courses through my veins. It burns beneath the scars of my decay.” The madness doesn’t end with the verse and chorus. The bridge finds Mike yelling the words, “Feel me, breathe me, bleed me, I beg you.” The song never slows down, and is a great first track.
3. Scars of Your Disease (3:29)
Some crazy drumming starts this track off, with a guitar that is less audible. After a powerful verse, comes one of the coolest parts of the album. In the pre-chorus Mike yells out the words, “I am the hatred incarnate. I am the choked and dying screams. I am the sickness inside you longing for…” The chorus continues at a similar chaotic pace. The verse and pre-verse are then repeated, with different lyrics, followed by the chorus. The breakdown/bridge is another cool part from the album, ending with Mike near-growling the words, “I am the ever-forsaken, bastard child of your disease. Your dead and abandoned strung up for all of you to see.” This stellar song then ends with the chorus. The first of many perfect scores to come is this song.
4. Screams Turn to Silence (2:56)
This song can be heard if you go to their website which is shown above. This song continues with the album’s chaotic and fast-paced music. The intro includes some hammer-ons courtesy of the guitar. After the verse comes the chorus, which gives us our first taste of clean vocals from Mike, and he does it well. The intro riff is played in the background, along with a higher-pitched guitar that fits nicely, and contributes to Mike’s voice well. The song slows down a bit in the bridge, but then kicks right back into the chorus which is done in a slightly different flavor. Another enjoyable track.
5. Sacrifice (2:58)
The song starts off with a drum roll, with a slightly less audible guitar. The verse starts with Mike yelling accompanied with a pinch harmonic, that sounds pretty kickass. The verse in this song is extremely fast (no surprise). It then goes into a slightly slower chorus, but still powerful. In the breakdown we hear Mike speak the words, “In the eyes of our father. From the tears of our mother, shame…” He then screams those words continuously until the chorus. The chorus is done with a slightly different flavor, just like the track before, and the song ends on it. This track doesn’t really stick out as much for me, but it’s the simple things (like the pinch harmonic to start the verse, and the spoken part of the breakdown) that push me to give it a 4.
6. Prey (3:48)
This is another song that can be heard on their website, and in my opinion the best track on the album. This song also has a video. Song starts of with some really awesome drumming along with a cool little guitar riff, followed by the main guitar riff and some fast drumming. The verse is filled with double bass drumming and pinch harmonics, followed by a chorus with Mike singing cleanly. Mike’s vocals throughout the song are awesome. The bridge is really neat, slow, yet powerful. This song gets a perfect score from me.
7. Procession (4:36)
This can also be heard off of the website. We enter the song with Brent smashing on the cymbals, while some low-pitch chords are being played. The verse is really awesome in this song. The beginning of the verse has the guitars playing some chords and letting them ring. Then the verse slows done a bit, with the guitars playing pretty much the same riff, but not letting the chord ring on. Then the double bass comes in with the guitar playing some pinch harmonics. Another soft sounding bridge and an outro chorus end this one, much like Prey. The album is starting to get a little repetitive, with the same song structure again (intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, outro chorus), but that isn’t a problem so far.
8. Suffer (4:32)
This has a very metal-like intro with some fast-picking from the guitarists, some fast drumming, and a growl from Mike. The verse continues the mood with a guitar riff that is much like the intro, and Mike screaming powerfully. After a chorus that continues the pace that this album like to keep comes the intro, followed by the verse again. After the chorus, the song slows down a bit, with a bridge that features Mike singing in a very strange voice, “In darkness I close my eyes. A prayer to ease the pain. In silence I realize. The darkness will always…” Another chorus is followed up by some static, and other noises that end the song. A cool song, but it didn’t really stand out much to me.
9. My Dark Desire (3:49)
The song starts of with a guitar playing a nice little riff accompanied with the drums playing a beat that is heard on a couple other songs in the album. The vocals in this song are some of my favorite from the album, as Mike growls/speaks, “Her touch is intoxicating. She holds my heart within her hands. Unmerciful, she has become my everything.” After a heavy verse comes a chorus which has, in my opinion, the best clean vocals on the album. After a 2nd chorus and verse comes a dark little instrumental breakdown with some crazy drumming. Some pinch harmonics and cymbal bashing make this a neat bridge. This is followed by another chorus, which leads to some noise that ends the track.
10. Scapegoat (2:57)
This band is good at choosing singles. First Prey, now Scapegoat. A cool intro with a bunch of hammer-ons and pull-offs. The second part of the intro comes in with double-bass and a riff similar to the beginning of the song, but played by both guitars. This is continues throughout the verse. The pre-chorus is probably the coolest part of the song. The guitars slow down, and the drums keep rolling, as Mike says in a dark voice “Burn me alive. Burn me alive!” It all sounds very cool. The screaming is really powerful in the chorus. Then comes the breakdown, which is amazing, with some fast picking on the guitars part. This is another stand out track.
11. Forever Abandoned (3:15)
The final track on the album, and it closes the album nicely. The song is very fast-paced, thanks mostly to the drums. Mike screams in the chorus to this song, too, and he doesn’t disappoint. Then comes the bridge, where Mike whispers, “She tasted eternity. It’s kiss like a last goodbye,” which os the first two lines of the chorus. The song then goes back to the chorus, which is the final part of the song. The album ends with some noise followed by two voices talking amongst each other for about 5 seconds. This is a great song to end a great album.
Some very simple guitar work on the album, but sometimes, simple sounds best. The vocals and drumming in this album is amazing, and Brent Master’s is officially one of my favorite drummers. The bass isn’t very audible throughout the album, but when you can hear it, it’s very solid.
-Bass isn’t very noticable.
-Gets a little repetitive.
-Guitar is simple at most times and repetitive.
-But sometimes simple is good, and why stop something that works"
-Incredible drumming throughout
-The instruments work well with Mike’s vocals.
This album gets a 4.5/5 from me.