Agrimonia - Rites of Separation
Southern Lord
Post-Sludge, Melodic Death
5 songs (59:45)
Release year: 2013
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Goat

It’s hard to pigeonhole Sweden’s Agrimonia, although a lot of you will be trying to do so immediately from the genre tags chosen. Featuring At The Gates’ Martin Larsson, the band does anything but merely replicate the Cult-of-Neur-Isis stereotype. Much more rounded, aggressive, and dynamic, Agrimonia is like a progressive sludge band in some ways and a melodic death one in others. The band is a delight to try and figure out on initial listens, but once you’re used to them you’ll enjoy the songwriting above all, constructing epic songs around the base templates of two excellent guitarists and a female vocalist with an Angela Gossow-esque roar. It’s not just Cult of Luna meets At The Gates, however, as the band are far more prog-tinged than is apparent on initial listens. Quite apart from the extent that the band revels in the length of tracks (two ten, two fifteen, and a six-minuter here) little touches like the build-up to surprisingly epic heights in Talion, where the band almost turn Viking metal with backing male singing, or the delicate piano that opens Hunted, show that there’s a lot going on in Agrimonia’s music.

The entire album is more fragile than some of the heavier moments suggest. Solos are generally built so well into the surrounding songs that they don’t always stand out, but are sometimes just the peak of the mountain that the song has been climbing up to – Hunted does this very well. While Life Lies’ initial swirling ambience sets a good scene, which the rest of the song builds on excellently, moving from stellar sludgy crunch to the sort of prog-touched melodic riffing that you’d expect to hear from a band like Be’lakor, even throwing a bit of old-Opethy acoustic strumming in there. The awkward, off-kilter electronic beats that open Awaiting are a nice touch, as too are the whispers later in the track – the only thing approaching clean vocals on the album. Agrimonia are clearly intent on doing things their own way, and although that way isn’t stunningly different from the norm on paper, in sound Rites of Separation is so expertly put-together that you can’t help but admire it. A great album, recommended to fans of both genres at the top.

Killing Songs :
Talion, While Life Lies, Awaiting
Goat quoted 84 / 100
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