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Agonizer - Birth/The end 4/5

Reviewed: 7-11-08


1. Prisoner
2. Harmless hero
3. Everyone of us
4. Hazardous
5. Prophecy
6. Sleepless
7. Black sun
8. The birth and the end

It’s great to see more power metal/melodic metal bands emerging from Finland. For the majority, the Finns are renowned for their gothic metal and black metal bands. But in the last 5 or so years there has been quite a lot of power metal/melodic metal bands climbing to the top and making themselves known to the metal world. Obviously Stratovarius and Tarot have led the way for such a long time, and to a lesser extent you can add Dreamtale and Thunderstone. Recently there has been a few more to raise eyebrows, but now you can add Agonizer to the list. And going from their debut CD, ‘Birth/The end’, they will do more than just raise eyebrows.

Formed in 1998, these guys have slaved away in the background, releasing demo after demo from 1998 to 2003, 4 in total, until they released an EP entitled ‘World of fools’ in 2004. The band brought in a new drummer and keyboardist after the release of the EP and finally in 2007, all their hard work paid off when Agonizer were picked up by Finnish record label Spinefarm.

To gain exposure of their debut release, the band outrageously made history by performing a CD release show in a world record depth of 1,400 meters underground. By going through with the performance, Agonizer made the Guinness Book of World Records in the "Deepest Concert Underground" category. Agonizer played in the Pyhäsalmi mine on August 4, 2007, which is the deepest mine in Europe.

With all that said and done, how does Agonizer sound? Well after playing ‘Birth/The end’ quite a few times, I can tell you that this band is hungry, hungry for success; and it bellows out in droves throughout the CD. Playing power/melodic metal with a dark tinge (well they are from Finland), Agonizer belt out hit after hit of melodic and emotional metal. You can certainly hear their enthusiasm in their performance, like a rookie trying his heart out on a football field.

Agonizer’s twin guitar blasts of Jari-Pekka Perälä and Joni Laine drives every song, while the excellent keyboarding and use of electronica from newest member Patrik Laine adds a dark, yet unique sound, adding plenty of depth. Vocalist Pasi Kärkkäinen steers this melodic ship with brilliance, his emotional yet raspy vocals further adds to the quality and depth of each track. With obvious room for improvement and experimentation, ‘Birth/The end’ is one of the better debuts I’ve heard in a while.

Each song is quite different from the other, with the tempo ranging from mid-paced to fast-paced; as fast as melodic metal usually gets. With only 8 tracks on the CD, the wonderful debut is over after 39 minutes and leaves me wanting for more; and that is my only gripe about this release. While all the tracks on the CD are quite consistent, there are always the standouts. Without wanting to describe the whole tracklist, I must say that “Prisoner”, “Harmless hero”, “Hazardous”, “Sleepless” and “The birth and the end” are excellent and my personal fav’s.

Finland are certainly churning out some great melodic/power metal bands as of late and so far, I feel that Agonizer is leading the charge of this new brigade. Having a dark tinge within their sound, almost border lining on gothic especially with the electronica, Agonizer have an edge on your typical melodic metal bands and would also attract fans of that gothic rock/metal genre.

Agonizer certainly have the tools to become a great metal band of the future and they haven’t let up their exuberance or hunger since trying so hard to break into the metal world for 9 years. Now they have made it, and hopefully they are here to stay.




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