Aghast – All The Rage4th October 2014
I must admit, when I was sent this for review I was super excited to be reviewing some new material from Norway’s prolific dark ambient / experimental band Aghast that released one album in 1994 and split shortly after. When I found out that what I’d be reviewing was some band from London with a rather comic book inspired image, I had very little expectations and put off even listening to this for a number of days.
Let me be perfectly clear. Aghast is no joke and you better get used to this band because they are going to be around and in your face for quite some time. “All the Rage” is a fun, energetic, and well-crafted piece of extreme metal that combines elements of metalcore, melodic death metal, hardcore, and general fun to make for an extremely catchy and enjoyable listen. “Hollywood Ending” brings the familiar melodic guitar work and catchy hooks that just make you want to get the Aghast t-shirt. By the time you’re raging to the grooves and chops of “It’s Your Funeral”, the comic book image goes from ultra cheese to…well, kind of cool.
Having built a reputation over the years with a number of EPs (after forming whimsically following a drinking competition at a metal festival) and what seem to be extremely impressive live shows, Aghast are a force to be reckoned with and they have the songs to back it up with this debut. “All the Rage” is well crafted having been produced by Derya Nagle at Playgle Productions and mastered by Ue Natasi (Gojira, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Clutch) and the overall sound is powerful, clear, but also organic. I think why I appreciate Aghast and what will separate them from the pack is their respect for the seriousness of extremity while acknowledging how fun it can be without appealing to the lowest common denominator for a cheap and easy thrill.
The breakdowns in “Look Alive” are done tastefully and in more of a death metal fashion and bypass the obnoxiousness of deathcore, something I think will resonate with fans looking for good old fashioned extreme metal without the lameness of all that the tired trends have provided. It’s difficult to tell whether or not this band is a celebration of the moment or in it for the long haul, but what is clear is that the material is strong enough and the songwriting is there to take Aghast to the top of the metal mountain. Only time will tell.
1. Die Laughing
2. All the Rage
3. Hollywood Ending
4. Afterlife Crisis
5. Drop Dead Famous
6. Bang to Rights
7. It’s Your Funeral
8. Look Alive
9. Sea of Trees
10. Hells Bells (and Buckets of Blood)
11. We Fear Silence
12. Noise Pollution
October 1st, 2014