Thursday, 3 November 2011

Agga - Agga

     Agga, are a gimmick metal band from Florida.  Being a Gimmick metal band isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it takes away from the possible artistic integrity of the artist.  Agga's gimmick is incorporating middle eastern folk music with black/thrash metal and lyrics exclusively about Babylonian mythology.  It is a unique take on an old trend (mixing black metal with folk.)

     Whilst this band isn't as painful to listen as Orphaned Land, there are a few problems with the music that need to be addressed.  The most prominent problem would have to be the thin guitar tone, it sounds a lot like Forest's guitar tone, which would be a good thing if they were playing ambient black metal... unfortunately they are not.  I think that if this dude wants to take his project seriously he really needs to increase production value.  A self produced album can sometimes make the album sound more personal in a positive way (Transilvanian Hunger/As a Song in the Harvest of Grief.)  At other times it can strongly distract from what would otherwise be a good album (Spheres/Reek of Putrefaction.)  As much as I hate modern production values; this release is in dire need of them.  If this was kvlt-as-fvck black metal the production would be perfect, the production is really the only thing that makes this sound like black metal.  The riffs seem more along the generic palm muting  variety that has been in metal since Black Sabbath.  There are a few droning tremolo sections that fit the black metal bill but they are not prominent enough to truly call this black metal. The guitars are mixed on different levels on each song which takes away from any atmosphere that may have otherwise been created.  The harsh vocals are pretty week although I don't blame this on the vocalist as much as I blame it on the microphone.  The last problem I am going to bring up is the fact that every song on this album has a fade-out ending... any atmosphere that wasn't killed off by the production was destroyed by the fade-outs.

     The previous paragraph makes me sound like a hater, I'm not a hater.  I actually dig this release, even though it isn't thrash metal or black metal.  The clean chanting vocals are really cool, even though they are cheesy as nachos and only semi on-key.  They sound very hypnotic and succeed in the creation of a dark and mystical atmosphere, which is the ultimate goal this album strives for.  The fake drums sound good, even though they are at a different volume level on each song.  Although Agga have a painfully cheesy gimmick in a conceptual sense, the project portrays the ancient civilization of Babylon in a very convincing way.

     Now that I have gone through my list of "likes" and "dislikes" of the outward aesthetic, I will proceed to through my arbitrary opinion at the music itself.  The song writing is very good.  This dude knows how to write convincing, unique and memorable melodies.  I get parts of these songs stuck in my head days after hearing them.  The only problem with the actual song writing is that the choruses are repeated far too frequently (especially on the song "The Lord of Babylon.")  Despite what I said about the production and the lack of song endings destroying atmosphere, there is plenty of atmosphere left on the album due to the brilliant song writing.  I have to say that every song on this release is very good (in my opinion.)  My only significant complaint is the production.  I would like to hear these songs the way they are intended to be heard!

Listen to Agga for free!

Curtis Review" 78%

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