Rites Of Separation

Southern Lord 2013

With their music firmly rooted in crusty post-hardcore, Sweden's Agrimonia deliver their third album which is perhaps, heavier and more metallic than a lot of their Southern Lord brethren.  Out of the windswept wasteland comes an alarm-warning riff and slow, massive crust riffs on Talion that bring to mind early work by Morne or a more polished Axegrinder.  Then the pace kicks up and a catchy main riff charges in accompanied by deathly vocals.  There is a mournful, melodic quality to the music that echoes nicely through the slow middle segment.  A dancing metallic foundation shifts into a solitary clean guitar before cycling back to the opening structure.  Hunted utilizes a beautiful, fragile piano line to instill a sense of sorrow in the listener.  Brooding guitars steadily rise from behind the piano to create a haunted effect, then a salvo of meaty crust guitars usurp the whole mood of the song.  Death metal grooves crush all impediments before them while near melodies are interspersed in the background of the track.  A thick bass guitar and interesting fretwork tango with each other as drums cascade across the whole movement until all those are cast aside by a black metal-ish moment.  Around the 12:10 mark of the song a despondent riff dominates the mood of the song and conjures comparisons to Brave Murder Day era Katatonia.  While Life Lies is up next and has a sense of stillness from its outset.  However the stormclouds roll in and smother the listener in a cloud of ash.  At the 3:10 mark more Katatonia references arise as the rhythm style is so similar, but this is quickly burnt away by upward arcing black metal riffs.  The infusion of acoustic guitar towards the track's closing moments lightens the mood somewhat but the darkness quickly gathers again.  Warped textures and mechanical beats form the initial stage of Awaiting.  Then emotional, moving riffs cast themselves upon you like a waterfall.  Deathly vocals strip the humanity from your heart while the riffs pump it back in.  Instrument induced melancholy overcomes you as a simplistic, doomy beat and forlorn guitars cast shades of grey depression upon the Earth.  Despite the long length of all the tracks, Agrimonia never lingers overlong on any set of riffs or effect which keeps the songs fresh.  They do however craft songs that are beautifully bleak and sorrowfully ominous.  Southern Lord has once again discovered a crust tainted gem and unleashed it upon the world to bath it in its bleak essence.