AGNOSTIC – MORBID EMBRACEMENT
Label: (CyberTree India)
Release Date: April 14, 2012
When you’re living in an age where every one out of three or four bands choose their genre as death metal, your band has to live up-to the mark; basically you have to be a promising act. Now there are guys who experiment and there are guys who stick to the “old-school” trend (never really understood that term). The Guwahati based metal band Agnostic belongs to the latter category. I had come across the single entitled “Maggot Infest” off the upcoming album Morbid Embracement and was wondering if these guys were the “real deal”. Very few Indian death metal acts have lived up to my expectations; namely Abandoned Agony, Blood Meridian, Infernal Wrath, Dhwesha and Exhumation (the last two having changed my life drastically). So I’m wondering if Agnostic will also be added to this list of “Indian Death Metal Giants”. Anyhow let’s start the Agnostic journey:
Agnostic is a 5-piece death metal band (as I mentioned before) from the City of Extreme Metal: Guwahati. The band consists of Deep on vocals, Hemen and David (David also doing backing vocals) on guitars, Nitu on the bass guitar and Mitul on drums. So a quick glance at the album title Morbid Embracement; what exactly does that even mean? As far as I know, Embracement isn’t even a proper word, but I get the idea of what the band is trying to convey: Facing the fact that eventually you will die!
The songwriting and musicianship on Morbid Embracement is unequivocally worthy of praise. One cannot go wrong with ferocious songs like “One Final Mutilation”, “Morbid Embracement”, “Maggot Infest” or “Beneath the Frozen Depth”. However, on the other side, we have few tracks, “Acrisia” and “Blood Ridden Epitaph” which are disappointing and do not continue the combination of technicality and murderous aggression. Although there is just something about the precision attack of the compositions and the sheer viciousness of the delivery that makes Morbid Embracement sound like more of a classic death metal opus every time I spin it. Maybe some of it has to do the mix of thick and gooey bass licks and sickeningly crunchy guitars that producer Barooa Brothers have skillfully captured in the studio. It could be the furious pace or the lethal chord progressions of Hemen and David (who rip out some lacerating solos). Deep’s patented screams and distinctive growls might even be more psychotic this time around.
Morbid Embracement also gets better with repeat listens, a sign of lasting quality. “Psychotic Mission of Death” is the perfect opener. It is as speedy and insane a three minutes that you will hear from Agnostic. Several tracks are already beginning to sound like classics to these ears, most notably the fat crush and tricky tempo shifts of “Maggot Infest”. It is the album’s most memorable track (at least right now). “One Final Mutilation”, “Submerge in Gore” and “Morbid Embracement” are close behind. The arrangement of all three are frantic, unsettling, and difficult to rid from the dark recesses of the mind. The more you listen, the more you’ll begin to appreciate the six-string intricacies of Hemen and David as well. “Beneath The Frozen Depth” closes the album in an appropriately strangulating manner.
I listened to the album almost three times back to back, not knowing why. Maybe because it was too awesome or maybe just to see if there was anything new in it for me to hear. The riffs absolutely grind, just as the rhythms pulverize and the vocals thunder. Deep’s unique vocal pattern on an epileptic seizure of a song called “One Final Mutilation” is just one of those cool little touches.
Morbid Embracement is the sound of a band that is out to prove that it can be among death metal’s elite. It’s technically proficient, eminently memorable to some extent, and gorged with entrails. Although the album is quite small duration-wise, with not a single track exceeding the four-minute mark, and the album itself being just 24 minutes, it is monumental! The lyrics are how they should be; about gore, torture, mutilation, etc. Finally, the subtle bits and pieces in the arrangements don’t necessarily stand out until after the first few listens, so spend some time with this one. The more you listen, the more you’ll hear, and the more you’ll appreciate this bloody good time of a death metal album.