Originally published back in 93, this is a re-release from Diamond Records which means there must be some sort of demand for this lost album. There certainly hasn’t been any form of demand coming out of my mouth, I couldn’t stand “Mind No Mind” but I must admit “Agony In Despair”, the debut of guitar hero Jeff Keegan, holds some of his better sides regarding song writing and atmosphere.
The material I’d describe as being a bit more Progressive though the Old School Metal form of writing is still his most recognisable trademark. The sweaty riff passages of “Denial” reek of eighties Power Metal but with estranged melancholic acoustic guitars and Keegan’s ominous vocal delivery thrown right into the center of arrangements, the track gets that rich atmospheric SAVATAGE feel.
“Injustice” and “Centre Of The War” are good tracks as well for the traditional Metal fan, plenty of fast double bass tempos on the drums (courtesy of Anders Johansson of HAMMERFALL) and racing proggy soloing. The acoustic guitar insertions presented in almost every track adds a warm feeling to the songs; these sections are rather rewarding as the album has a lot of agonising lyrics and somewhat despairing atmospheres.
Unfortunately, Keegan’s is not well equipped vocally. He’s got a decent range but really should have applied his emotional high pitched woes with more caution. His vocal tone however has more “semi” qualities to show for, a clear and uncontrolled emotive singing style reminiscent of Urban Breed (around “A Mended Rhyme”) and a washed up Axl Rose.
Progressive Metal as well as Power Metal and general Heavy Metal fans might find this album interesting, I got something out of it but it still isn’t my most desirable cup of Metal. (Online November 1, 2004)