Higher Art Of Rebellion

Agathodaimon

Nuclear Blast Records, 1999

http://www.agathodaimon.de

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/2001

I realize I should be thankful for bands such as Germany's Agathodaimon. This isn't your typical death metal band, whose aim is to play ten million notes in one minute and grunt unintelligible evilness into the microphone while the guitars blare in a consistent drone.

I know I should be thankful that Agathodaimon doesn't do things in the traditional way. And maybe, if their latest disc my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Higher Art Of Rebellion was easier to get into, I would be appreciative. But this disc starts off far too slow for my tastes and quickly sinks this eight-piece group into mediocrity.

The thing that bothers me is this: Agathodaimon didn't have to follow this route. After all, there's more than enough material on this disc to prove that the band can hold its musical weight well, thanks to the dual lead vocal attack of Vlad (who also provides keyboards) and Akaias. Tracks such as "When She's Mute," "Body Of Clay" and "Novus Ordo Seclorum" all hold out hope that Agathodaimon could well be a leader in the field of death metal. They even take a spin into formula with the disc's closer "Heaven's Coffin" - a track which surprisingly works when mirrored against the more gloom-and-doom sedated rhythms.

If only Agathodaimon had put some of this material at the front of Higher Art Of Rebellion. The three songs which kick this disc off - "Ne Cheama Pamintul," "Tongue Of Thorns" and "A Death In Its Plentitude" - don't have the creative power needed to suck the listener into the band's world. Fortunately for Agathodaimon, once things start clicking, they can do almost no wrong musically... but it sure feels like a long trip to get there.

Maybe it's that Agathodaimon isn't so much of a death metal band as they are a goth band with metal leanings - something which the diehard followers of either genre will probably need some time to get accustomed to. Maybe it's that their desire to be different runs the risk of alienating some death metal fans (at least those who prefer their musical blenders set on "grind").But if given enough time, Higher Art Of Rebellion proves that Agathodaimon indeed seems to know what they're doing, even if it doesn't immediately sink in.

Rating: B-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.