Agathodaimon – The Seven
After six full-length albums in fifteen years, it seemed like “In Darkness” (2013) would be the last thing we would ever hear from Agathodaimon. The symphonic black metal band from Germany decided to go on an indefinite hiatus, because the members had other priorities in their lives. A respectable decision, because it isn’t always easy to be in an active band when you also have a job and a family to take care of.
Imagine my surprise when nine years later I find a Facebook post by Napalm Records sharing a new Agathodaimon song. As I have always appreciated their work, my curiosity got triggered and the experience was amazing: a trip down memory lane back to the late ‘90s, but also modern sounding with some of the band’s best songwriting ever. What happened here? It appears that band leader Sathonys found his inspiration back after his kids had grown out of the age of requiring constant attention. He got singer Ashtrael on board again, but after so many years, it was impossible to get the old line-up back. Two of the band members had lost their interest in metal, while the drummer moved on to The Spirit and it would not make sense to come back.
Agathodaimon – Ain’t Death Grand (click here if the video doesn’t play)
So, after a huge break and with three new band members, Agathodaimon had to start rebuilding from scratch. After having lost his focus a bit on the last two albums, Sathonys knew exactly where he wanted to take his band this time. The result is “The Seven”, a concept album about the seven deadly sins. Perhaps not the most original concept in the history of metal, but it fits the musical style well and the band had special artwork created for each of the sins, so they really put a lot of thought and effort into the process. It’s really great how music, design and lyrics fit together in the overall concept, turning things into a coherent piece of art.
The result is fantastic. “The Seven” is easily the strongest release in Agathodaimon’s already solid catalogue. It’s a diverse album, ranging from furious black metal to doomy passages, gothic atmospheres and a good amount of pure heavy metal, especially in the melodic solos. The band has taken care of every detail, so every riff is functional, every blast beat matters and the vocal approach with both cleans and screams is well-balanced. The production by Kristian Bonifer is a perfect fit: a good amount of punch in the strings and drums, but also detailed enough with some extra emphasis on the vocals to make things a bit more epic.
Agathodaimon – The Wolf Within (click here if the video doesn’t play)
From the very start of opening track ‘La Haine’, the listener gets sucked into a grand tale, full of dynamics, excellent musicianship and diverse vocals. ‘Ain’t Death Grand’ follows in similar fashion, while ‘Wolf Within’ shows the band from a more furious side. Other noteworthy songs are ‘Mother of All Gods”, with a contribution from original singer Vlad Dracul, the atmospheric two-piece ‘In My Dreams’ and the majestic closing track ‘The Divine’. All of these display a band at the top of its game, driven and full of creativity.
Not every song is as great as the ones mentioned before, but the so-called fillers are still solid, simply making “The Seven” an album of stunning beauty. Agathodaimon has made an impressive comeback with renewed inspiration and is ready to reclaim its place as one of the leading artists in the symphonic black metal scene. I can only congratulate the band on this effort and strongly recommend our readers to give “The Seven” a chance.
- La Haine
- Ain’t Death Grand
- Wolf Within
- Ghosts of Greed
- Mother of all Gods
- In my Dreams (Part 1 – Prelude)
- In my Dreams (Part 2 – In Bitterness)
- Kyrie / Gloria
- The Divine