Review Summary: Agrimonia's new bleak, post-everything album surpasses genre-labelling.
Today you’re going to learn two things. Firstly, Agrimonia is a genus of a species of plant that usually lives for a maximum of 2 years and it has a history of medicinal uses ranging from treating weariness to ailments for various organs; some believed that if you placed stems of a particular species of Agrimony on someone’s head, they would fall asleep instantly and would not wake up until the plant was removed. Secondly, Agrimonia is a crust punk band from Sweden featuring members of At the Gates, Martyrdod and Skitsystem who infuses elements of sludge, death and post-everything into their music, allowing them to intertwine an array of contrasted sensations into the bleakly atmospheric fabric of their music.
, the band’s fourth album, naturally expands on the proficient interplay of the aforementioned subgenres that “Rites of Separation”
skilfully established previously. Now, Agrimonia focusses on emphasising and perfecting their knack for creating progressive soundscapes without surrendering their vicious edge. Not only does “Awaken”
successfully combine these various sounds as well as maintaining the continuously ominous tone that the combined genres produce, but, within these lengthy compositions they frequently glide from movement to movement.
is never still. Listening to its six tracks which average at around 10 minutes apiece- minus the short instrumental title track- never feels like a chore due to the frequent shifts in sonic expression and the dynamic structuring of the album. “A World Unseen” provides a fitting introduction to the album, demonstrating the way in which Argramonia’s guitars reveal this tidal tangibility when placed alongside the racing drums during the faster moments and the way the band easily drifts from swift, intense moments to sparkling melodies only to plunge back into stampeding death metal. Even during the tenderer parts of “Awaken”
the songs develop into unpredictable genre-hopping dirges. Glacial synthesizer introduces “Foreshadowed” as a tender track, however, no one could predict that the song would develop into a blackened stomp with infectious hooks, rolling drums and melodies igniting feelings of treachery and malice yet Agrimonia make these shifts in dynamics not only sound coherent but also logical.
Christiana Blom ties together Agrimonia’s blunt, extreme side with the band’s melodious, progressive tenure in “Awaken”
. Her unwaveringly dry and scathing vocals are undoubtedly impressive and add an additional layer of brutality to tracks such as “Ashtray” and “The Sparrow” where her erosive howls penetrate the smokescreen of misty guitars and d-beat drumming. The seamless cohesion across “Withering” where, against the airy synthesiser, the guitars sound like branches rustling together in a night-time breeze before a sludgy, dominant riff is placed purposefully at the forefront of the mixing to sound as commanding as possible, trampling any precognitions of tranquillity, underlines the fact that these songs progress naturally; Agrimonia never displays the need to suddenly jump from melancholy to malevolence purely to justify their progressive nature.
sounds like this band has had the stems of Agrimony removed from their head and have awoken stronger than ever after 5 years. The distress that Christiana Blom displayed due to the debilitating illnesses she faced on “Rites of Separation”
hasn’t disappeared but has been redirected, drawing influence from the austere world around her while she defiantly chooses to provide a lantern of hope rather than a miserable reflection of the world. While “Awaken” scores highly in the number of quaking moments, it’s the touches of personal passion and tentative optimism within the album that sets Agrimonia apart from their counterparts.