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Agathodaimon - Phoenix (6/10) - Germany - 2009

Genre: Gothic Death Metal / Black Metal / Atmospheric Metal
Label: Massacre Records
Playing time: 63:00
Band homepage: Agathodaimon

Tracklist:

  1. Heliopolis
  2. Devil's Deal
  3. Decline
  4. Ground Zero
  5. Ghost Of A Soul
  6. Winterchild
  7. Time Is The Fire
  8. To Our Ashes
  9. Amongst The Vultures
  10. Oncoming Storm
  11. Throughout The Fields Of Unshaded Grace
  12. Grey Whisper
Agathodaimon - Phoenix

AGATHODAIMON seem to have an established position on the Atmospheric Metal scene, though, I have to admit I have never happened to learn to know any of their works. “Phoenix”, their latest album, is the number five on their release list, which made me expect a portion of a solid music experience.

 

While the promo arrived in my inbox labelled as Gothic Black Metal it quickly turned out that the inspirations from the latter genre are not so obvious here. The beginning of “Phoenix” surprised me with a energetic dose of Melodic Death Metal, whose riffs remind greatly of the Gothenburg scene. Making “Heliopolis” the album opener was surely nothing accidental as the composition’s melodies swiftly push their way through to the centre of one’s brain memory system. Such influences can be found in numerous other moments, which together with the very polished and strong production results in a modern powerful release whose songs will surely sound great during the group’s gigs. The energy of this release is also an effect of using a handful of clean male vocals. They add a considerable dose of epic feeling to AGATHODAIMON’s music and one might have some associations with Vortex of DIMMU BORGIR when hearing them. The album’s sublime character is even more stressed thanks to some classically flavoured keyboard sequences, which of course infuse this material with a lot of space.

 

Even if “Phoenix” has much to do with more extreme version of Modern Metal (traces of DIMMU BORGIR, IN FLAMES and in addition many Goth Metal influences), the Germans do not completely forget about their musical roots and one can even notice some increased Black Metal influences in “Throughout The Fields Of Unshaded Grace” and “Ghost Of A Soul”, where the guitars are buzzing in a rather simple way, the drums are beating fast rhythms and the keys add a pretty distinctive Symphonic BM taste to this piece. Otherwise it is practically only in the vocals one can see explicit references to the Black Metal genre.

 

An interesting addition to the whole nine yards here is the last song, which has been recorded for the purpose of the soundtrack to the motion picture “Alone In The Dark”. In this case the band’s music takes a swing towards rather typical Goth Metal aesthetics. Interesting enough, this tune has its newer version, sound of which is just the same as the sound of all other regular records on “Phoenix”. Both compositions are featured on a limited version of the album.

 

While everything seems theoretically to be fine on “Phoenix” I am somehow rather indifferent towards its sounds. I think the band could have made their work even more passionate, more surprising and they could have wrapped it in a much more organic sound. The only thing that really strongly draws my attention here is the cover artwork. I have not seen such a beautiful piece for a long time and I guess I would not be the only one to associate this image with some fairytale realms like the one in Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

 

AGATHODAIMON have delivered a pretty variable work with relatively many influences and it is clear that they know how to forge a sensible whole out of different elements. On the other hand it still lacks originality and something that could immediately surprise you in a positive way. “Phoenix” is not a bad effort and provided that you are not a very demanding music fan you might even feel a stronger affinity towards these tunes. Otherwise the album might seem to be slightly generic and good for an occasional listening session.

(Online July 27, 2009)

Sebastian Jazdzewski



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