Ritual 6

Written by: PP on 02/11/2006 01:29:49

Agro hasn't been the new kid in the block for a while now. Still their sixth album "Ritual 6" places them into that position as it is their first album to be released outside the frontiers of South Africa. Now it's not too often you hear of bands from that part of the world, but when you do, they usually tend to be fantastic (see Seether as an example). But 'fantastic' is not exactly the word I would use when describing Agro's latest full length.

Think Raunchy's latest album "Death Pop Romance". It pretty much attempted to fuse pop and death metal to create a new genre by using electro synths, metalcore-style choruses and twin guitar harmonies a la In Flames, but in the end they failed, if not miserably at least thoroughly. The same applies here. Much promise is given by the harmonious melodies created by the twin-guitars (though keyboards are largely absent), but all the promise is thrown down the drain by their monotoneous vocalist, who sounds note after note exactly like he did the second before, antagonising any proficient guitar work the band puts forward. The solos are blazing and often both guitars follow the solo-line to fortify the melodic sound, which is absolutely the biggest strength of Agro. Plenty of guitar gimmicks like the one described just before are audible on each and every song, and while many of them turn out well, even adding some progressive elements to their music, none of them is able to raise the songs above the mediocre mark, which is mostly a consequence of the repetetive vocal style that tires you easily.

In its essence, there isn't anything significantly faulty about Agro's seventh album, especially not on the guitar department. But on the other hand, there isn't anything mindblowing either, so you're left with a blank feeling where you've heard some semi-solid metal, but you're sure you've heard this all before in a much better form (see both In Flames and Raunchy). The only exception is "Time Heals Old Wounds", where the band executes their riffage and vocal work perfectly to supplement one other. The Lordi-style vocalist slows down his rough vocal delivery a bit, and allows more time and space for the guitars to do what they do the best: challenge each other in creating the haunting single/twin guitar harmonies and varying riffs.

If only the band did this on all of the songs, "Ritual 6" would be a solid album. But more often than not, the vocals interfere with the guitars and vice versa when they are delivered simultaneously. What the band needs focus on is to make sure the pleasing guitar harmonies aren't executed at the same time as the vocals, especially during the solos, because the vocals are about as generic metal style as you can find, and are much more fitting during standard riffing, perhaps with maximum one guitar leading the way on the background. Once they realize this thought onto an album, the result will be outstanding, as the longer songs like "B.F.D.P" prove with their long instrumental sessions. But for now, it's merely average.

Download: Time Heals Old Wounds
For the fans of: Raunchy
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.10.2006
Armageddon Music
Provided by Target ApS

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