The Agony Scene – ‘Tormentor’ (Album Review)

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With so many soundalike metalcore bands out there, The Agony Scene managed to differentiate themselves by going darker and harder than most of their peers. Now making their return after a lengthy hiatus with Tormentor, their first album in ten years, these guys have decided to mark the occasion by turning up the intensity even further than before.

Behind the music, a large part of Tormentor ponders the existence of “an insane, manipulative creator, a tormentor of all mankind,” and this certainly explains the level of sheer savagery that powers a continuous stream of literally violent riffs. As awesome as musical instruments are, you wouldn’t want to be one in the hands of The Agony Scene. If even one guitar string or drum head survived this onslaught, you could consider it a miracle.

Stylistically, Tormentor sticks close to the brutal metalcore template that will remain familiar to long-time The Agony Scene fans, but this time every possible extremity is emphasised and amplified to the nth degree. Underwear-soiling screams, end-of-the-world blast beats, and machine-gun kick drums are all primary ingredients, as are hyper-picked riffs and thrashy rhythmic figures. The potential negative point was always going to be predictability beyond the first few tracks; variety is largely absent, the focus clearly placed instead on forging some of the most gut-eviscerating metal ever recorded.

Tormentor, then, is one for extreme metal addicts before anyone else. Since I personally prefer as much on-record diversity as possible, I found it best taken in in small chunks – but that said, you can’t deny the fact that The Agony Scene have succeeded in levelling up. Bearing that ten-year gap in mind, this album remains a landmark achievement.


Tormentor drops July 20; buy it on iTunes here.

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Posted on 19 July 2018

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