Agrimonia – Rites of Separation | Review

An ear-catching clarion call at the start of ‘Talion’ signals the return of Sweden’s Agrimonia three years on from their last LP ‘Host of the Winged’. Now signed to Southern Lord for this their third full-length, ‘Rites of Separation’, Agrimonia—consisting of members of At the Gates, Martyrdöd and Skitsystem—have produced their best album right at the time that the band’s exposure is at its highest.
‘Talion’ is a fine indication of what the rest of this multi-limbed record has in store: expansive post metal split wide open and trounced by rampaging crust-punk with the raw screams of vocalist Christina Blom riding side-saddle. But to leave the description there would do the music a grave injustice. Agrimonia are not that easily defined. Sure the gnarled riffs during the faster passages have the stench of Martyrdöd’s grizzly classic rock, but there is an expressive side to the music that is just as intriguing. The piano-led intro to 'Hunted' is nicely composed and displays a broader musical palette than most. ‘White Life Lies’ is also dripping with rich dynamism, from the subterranean bass-lines and synths at the beginning to the fiery discharges that are soothed by an acoustic segue-way only to ignite again. ‘Awaiting’ even lashes strident black metal across the band’s wide musical spectrum, which bleeds into a clotted mix of the eerie synths, sparse drums and guitars, before taking a number of turns through the blackness and finding a final resting place in the arms of acoustic guitars.
To craft such diverse movements and make them sound seamless is quite the sleight-of-hand, but to do so while crossing genres and retaining the same abyss-perching aura, regardless of velocity and venom, is a massive accomplishment. Agrimonia’s ability to escalate and alleviate, to roar down vitriol one minute and descend into quiet dusk the next, is what makes these five, lengthy compositions so fascinating. If you are sick of post metal bands that kneel at the altar of Neurosis only to fall into pit of lethargy, Agrimonia’s ‘Rites of Separation’ is a welcome breath of fetid air.

Dean Brown

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Dean Brown is a metal scribe based in Ireland. He is currently a contributing editor to the North American cultural magazine Popmatters and he regularly throws words for a number of other reputable loud noise publications such as metal,,,, amongst others. He has a strong affinity for music that shakes souls and leaves debilitating tinnitus in its wake and such obsession has left him financially and medically crippled, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow Dean on twitter @reus85