Art Against Agony was founded in the autumn of 2011. All band members only use their alias names. During performances, they wear masks. So, this German progressive instrumental metal band is quite mysterious. They mix metal with rock and experimental jazz. By experimenting (live), the songs from their first album ‘Three short stories’ have rather changed. They themselves say: “We consider this EP to be the fourth short story. Its the forgotten story, the future sound of the past through the eyes of the present.” Because Art Against Agony themselves look through the eyes of today, I will not make comparisons with their debut album. For now, this EP only available as a download (see their band camp page).
The opening track starts quiet and mysterious but soon metal is added. With lots of heavy strings from ‘the heretic’ on bass, and from the guitarists ‘the sorcerer’ and ‘the machinist’. Partly by drummer ‘The malkavian’, the rhythm in the first part is pretty tight. The melody and the twists are not forgotten. Sometimes the twists come gradually, sometimes unexpected, but they all are wonderful.
The intro of ‘τέχνη’ is played staccato in such a way that it resembles the tight rhythm of a machine. ‘The surgeon’ plays a few notes on his piano. Again the rhythm prevails. However the limited melody is not a disadvantage, not at all. As in the previous song, there are plenty of jazz influences in the melody, played in a metal rhythm. What a marvelous combination. An unexpected but cool ending of this track.
The few soft tones at the start of the ‘SpurFünf‘ are played fairly slowly. After about 20 seconds pace and volume increase. You are bombarded with lots of notes in a short space of time. This gives a quiet played piece more impact. Stunning turn to full volume and tempo. Outstanding up tempo part! The wall of sound from the strings, together with the drums make the music rumble from the speakers because I turned the volume quite open. Rhythm and melody are in turn more on the foreground now. Both largely played in high tempo. Also this track has a sublime ending.
Small minus: the end of ‘La_mer‘ is somewhat cut off too instantly. Further nothing but praise. These five tracks are very diverse, and unpredictable. The build-up is surprising and complicated.
On ‘The forgotten story “, the newest member of the band, ‘The maximalist’ with his mridangam (a percussion instrument from India) can’t be heard yet. But he will be on the next album coming out next year. Hopefully this EP will be included as a bonus. Because this EP is too good to own only as a download.
(88/100, Vault records)
Website: Art Against Agony
Facebook: Art Against Agony
4.1 – Gente Innocente Non Corre (06:08)
4.2 – la_mer (02:54)
4.3 – τέχνη (04:20)
4.4 – Velvet Velour (04:49)
4.5 – SpurFünf (07:55)