Ashtrael – Vocals
Jan Jahnsen – Guitars
Sathonys – Guitars/’Clean’ Vocals
Till Ottinger – Bass
Felix Walzer – Keys/Synths
Manuel Steitz – Drums
Agathodaimon is a Black Metal band from Mainz, Germany est. in 1995. Initially the group was founded upon the premise of it being black metal meshed with harmonic elements and soon found themselves scouring the pages of local music mags in search of suitable musicians. From there they attracted Century Media after the completion of their demo. Although many other labels come to their side, Nuclear Blast was the clear choice. Throughout, the band had been struck with line up changes due to circumstances involving previous members forcing them to use seasoned guest musicians initially. From there they have become a steady force in the international melodic Death Metal Scene.
Heliopolis – The opening track of Agatho Daimon’s ‘Phoenix’ is a somewhat unusual sound than you would usually expect from modern metal. There are elements of classic metal a lit bit of Fear Factory inklings of electronica, even some hair metal. Normally I’m not into the high-pitched demon singing you typically get from Black Metal type bands but among the elements presenting by the actual music, one can simply not be inclined to be disappointed. It’s impressive to me that a little bit of that late 80’s metal has been rearing its head lately. More guitar solos, more crunch guitars and heavy shit, but not overly heavy.
Devil’s Deal – Combining a more American style of Hard Rock with the international metal scene ‘ Devil’s Deal’ is a ‘radio-friendly’ track that anyone riding along the highway could jam to. The band is more reserved in their rocking out this time around, but not at all lazy. The track is operatic, crawling and epic.
Decline – Evil at its absolute best would be a fair description of ‘Decline’. There are points that really get under my skin though; namely the chorus– I never was a big fan of the gothic dance pop genre like the Cruxshadows and the chorus takes that sort of snobby pretentious, nasally British tone and compounds it over cheesy lead synth melodies. The song structure is a little weak. But let that not be a deterrent, once the mid section of ‘Decline’ kicks in, the listening experience elevates to a more interesting plateau. The guitar solo is much more confident than many that I’ve heard within this genre I a long time.
Ground Zero – Picking up the tempo, Ground Zero is one of the more melodic tracks of the album. Musically the band’s affinity towards a more hard rocking late 80’s style of heavy metal is showcased alongside the cynical and sinister vocals of Ashtrael. I’m finding myself overwhelmingly impressed that the band can go for brutal, but not sacrifice melody, tension and release, and simply making a rocking song. The guitar solo is easily comparable to Slash albeit with a more classic approach of shred. Ground Zero is for us that love the classics and want a taste of the new as well.
Ghost Of A Soul – Ghost Of A Soul is a crushing tune. The guitar riffs are grinding and potent. The pre-chorus section sees Ashtrael use his real voice, which actually is MUCH better than his screeches and makes me wonder why he didn’t think to use it more often throughout the album! This album could very well be one of the best from the Nuclear Blast catalog, especially if our lead vocalist used his real voice. He truly haunts you with his inflection.
Winterchild – ‘Winterchild’ is my least loved song of the album. Simply put; there’s too much of the standard international style metal and the goth vibe just kills it for me. Mind me, it doesn’t sound bad at all; it’s just a style that I always have thought was a little cheesy. As far as the tones coaxed from the instruments, nothing falls flat, it’s a love it or hate it type of sound. Some may really enjoy the Gothic overtones presented but personally, it does nothing for me.
Time Is The Fire – ‘Time Is The Fire’ may very well be one of those songs that you’d hear in a horror film from the last decade. Seemingly, many of the scare flicks have taken a turn from the Stanley Kubric-esque atmosphere into using licensed tracks from heavy bands. Say what you will, this particular song fits well in that medium; Agatho Daimon does its best when they are allowed to expose their dramatic, melancholy jams. The guitar is certainly my favorite part of the song..our lead master Sathonys takes on the likes of Steve Vai by way of use of a ‘Whammy’ pedal, which allows you to harmonize your guitar signal with different intervals. Cool. Haven’t heard too much Whammy use since Dimebag Darrel, whom we sorely miss.
To Our Ashes (Glory Comes Too Late) – A slower paced heavy affair than some of the previous outfits, this one sees the singer being even more melodic and slightly less cheesy with his softly wavered vibrato and Goth Rock sensibilities. On the chorus, he grasps for a higher ceiling with his voice and while it sounds weak, it doesn’t not lack in pitch or feeling. For the rest of the band, they do what they do best; lots of double bass, searing guitars and well, a very not-so-present bass guitar. ..And Justice For All anyone?
Amongst The Vultures – Speaking of that Metallica album mentioned before, the riffs here could easily have been outtakes from that. Interestingly enough Agatho decides to get into a more syncopated type of riffing reminiscent of some of Pantera stuff. Of course, we see more of the clean vocals expressed by the lead guitarist (excuse the flub earlier as to who was singing these lines). ..’Vultures’ lacks nothing in passion or precision, but what it is that I feel does not grab me, is that there’s simply too much I’ve heard here before; no real change of pace.
Oncoming Storm – Definitely played out like a movie scene. This time around it comes off as more authentic. By this time, the group might as well be some extension of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra one of the most technical classical/metal influenced ensembles out there. Agatho is cleaner, meaner here, more focused in the way they split skulls. For a change I can hear the bass guitar! What’s funny is at first it sounded fake, but after a split second I really its because of the equalization cutting short of the brightness the bass obviously has. I really would’ve enjoyed hearing that round, growling bass tone a lot more.
Throughout The Fields Of Unshaded Grace – This is most obviously the fastest song on the record. At first the blast beats seem a bit out of time and not very tight (as many tend to do), but by the time the actual song kicks in, things become a bit more chaotically focus. The time signature takes weird twists, even though it chugs consistently at common time. The chorus is one of the better ones of the album, its less Gothic inspired and more black metal.
Grey Whisper – Grey Whisper has to be my favorite track; it’s the least predictable of the album and contains far less overused expressions and production in this genre. The clean guitars have so much dynamic content and they sound as sweet as saccharine. The clean vocals are also soothing and less ‘snooty’ sounding. The song is dramatic without being too sappy, and the fake symphony is kept to a more conservative role and is kept lower in the mix this time.’Grey Whisper’ is an absolutely fantastic way to close this chapter in the book by Agatho Daimon.