Where have Agrimonia been? It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three years since Host of the Winged. A band as good as this should never be absent for too long but good things come to those who wait, right? Rites of Separation, the Swedish post metal/crust band’s third LP is the start of a new era for Agrimonia. It’s their first record with Southern Lord, a label that has more than become a crust/hardcore home over the last two years or thereabouts, so Agrimonia should fit in just nicely, and justly many more ears will meet Rites of Separation.
What is so striking about this new album is how versatile and multi-layered it is, with a number of moods and timbres at play. While the band’s hardcore and crust roots are very much the strongest force that informs their craft, there are elements of post rock and death metal sizzling about in this concoction.
Opening track ‘Talion’ sets the tone straight away, first commencing with an imposing, and ‘epic’ if you must, angular lead guitar riff that gives way to the bludgeoning urgency of the verses. The journey is under way now and Agrimonia, over the next hour, swerve us with sharp turns of dizzying crescendos and blazing riffs.
Vocally, Christine (anyone got a surname?) is spitting razorblades and is the album’s definite standout, being a good representation of the album as a whole with an unrelenting and unforgiving trajectory for the entire record. This is the sound of a band that are more focused than ever. They’ve taken cues from their members’ other bands, like the twangy guitars of Martyrdöd’s last album and At The Gates’ sense of melody but never once do they simply sound like them. Agrimonia sound like Agrimonia.
Melding different worlds, the vast 15 minute ‘Hunted’ begins with serene piano-led arrangement while ‘The Battle Fought’ kicks in with a blistering almost black metal-like riff, showing that rich dichotomy of Agrimonia once again.
Rites of Separation is arguably their finest outing yet but regardless of debates over which is the best record, this third record is undeniably impressive and invigorating.
Rites of Separation is released by Southern Lord on April 30th