Review: The Agony Scene – Tormentor

The Agony Scene is back with a full album after years of silence and cliffhangers! The new album is called Tormentor and is worth the time we waited. It is heavy as always and catchy as always; expect no less from The Agony Scene. It has been years since TAS has released anything at all. They were silent for a while then made a post about a tour then nothing for a while again. They surprised us with a few singles from Tormentor before dropping the whole album and now here it is. At this point in time, it has been out for about a month and have been enjoying it ever since. TAS fans rejoice!

If you’re familiar with their older music then you probably regard them as early metalcore that’s sometimes groovy. Tormentor challenges the audience by progressing their sound and fusing it with black and death metal elements on each track. For example, “Like the Weeds in the Field” sounds predominantly like a death metal song with the tremolo picking, riffing styles, and song progression (looking at the bridge and proceeding verse). The riffs after the bridge sound like riffs from Sotajumala (death metal). The vocals are the exact same as they were in previous albums, which I’m happy about. I love Mike Williams’ vocals so much because his high vocal frys fit with the music well, they are very distinct, and uniquely his. Only Mike sounds like Mike. Even with the dark and fast riffage on songs like “Like the Weeds in the Field” the high vocals feed into the violence and bring forth a sound that is just heavy.

While every song has black metal elements, “The Ascent and Decline” showcases it the most out of the others, in my opinion. The opening section bleeds black with the tremolo-picked chords, intermittent hits on the ride cymbal before turning into a blast beat and, of course, Mike’s high vocals top it off. The intro to “Mechanical Breath” can be described pretty much the same way except it sounds different (obviously). “Mechanical Breath” refers back to that opening riffs several times throughout the track unlike “The Ascent and Decline.” No matter how heavy the influence from other genres is, each song still sounds very much like TAS. I think it’s important and good for a band to progress, but still sound like the same band, like The Contortionist. They have evolved their music a lot, but every song sounds like it’s from the same band. Having a unique or signature sound is what separates artists with talent and passion for music from bands that don’t have either.

Despite the new additions to their sound, TAS has not abandoned their old sound entirely as you can hear on “The Apostate.” “The Apostate” sounds like it’s an extra track from Get Damned with a little extra flare her and there. Which brings me to another big positive change you will find on Tormentor: the difference in drumming style from the old TAS and Tormentor. The drumming on this album is wonderful. There are a bunch of stylistic progressions and changes on each track. No matter what the drummer is doing it is heavy and useful. The drumming contributes significantly to the impact of the guitar riffs and even the vocals on occasion.

I find the production on Tormentor pretty decent. The instrumental layering is relatively equal outside of the bassist. The bass can be heard sometimes, which is more than a lot of other albums, but it is difficult to hear generally. The drums are crystal clear and the cymbals sound surreal. The guitars are slapped on top of everything, which is great. Overall Tormentor is a great album. It has a lot to offer sonically and shows evolution from TAS. Songs to check out are “The Ascent and Decline” and “Mouthpiece” for a taste of the new and “Serpent’s Tongue” and “The Apostate” for a taste of the old with new spice.

Rate: 8.8/10

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