Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy, aka the Joyful Gadfly! Musician, podcaster, writer, historian ... here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album is unique in some way. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Embrace Agony ~ Path To Redemption (EP)

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Style: heavy metal, experimental, death metal
Label: self-released
Year: 2010
Home: New York City

Members: Youssef Benlamlih ~ vocals
Ivan Serge ~ guitars
Kiyomi Kubo ~ drums
n/a ~ bass

This New York outfit churns out some melodic metal that falls between the experimental energy of a raw garage band & the darkness of Tool. Tool might not be the best reference but they're the first that comes to mind, particularly given the occasional use of quasi-talking vocals. "Scars", which also features an excellent example of the aforementioned talking vocals moving between growling, has a particularly dark opening with ringing guitar chords & African-like drumming that becomes a moody riffing beast with a melodic & underplayed guitar solo to embrace the mood. This song demonstrates that agony is more than just a name but actually a description of the music. No, this isn't agony to listen to, but it is someone's cries of agony wrapped in a musical blanket. That's probably the best description I can give to the band overall, without listing further bands they sound like. Cries of agony within a range of straight-ahead metal to more experimental arrangements. I often hear metal bands as just loud & destructive riffing but Embrace Agony is the first band in a long time where I've actually felt the underlying dark mood. A mentionable highlight includes an exciting instrumental bridge in "Bleed & Burn" that briefly transforms the otherwise straight-ahead death metal. The EP also includes the destructively intense "Untouchable" that feels almost too short & "Inner Cure" with probably the most raw guitar playing on the release.

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