11/06/19 - Agent 47 - Who's That? EP
Agent 47 is a four-piece hard rock/metal band from Manchester featuring The Unknown Scene’s very own Rik Hunter on bass and vocals. The line-up is rounded out with Mark Wheeler on guitar and vocals, Mike Robson on guitar and samples, and Dan Pass on drums. Formed in 2011, and after some line-up changes, the band cites their influences as Alice in Chains, Black Sabbath and Corrosion of Conformity to name just a few of many. Last year they released their debut EP entitled Who’s That? and are currently working hard on their follow up which will be released soon. In the meantime, let’s check out their debut and see what all the fuss is about.
EP opener “One Bad Day” begins with drums and lots of reverb. Plenty of atmosphere and vocals that sound as though they’ve been recorded off the radio…a very old, very cheap, very broken radio. This song is old-school and heavy in equal amounts and you can’t help but love it. About two-thirds of the way through the tempo increases considerably leaving behind the Alice In Chains vibes and bringing in some very Motorhead riffing and vocals instead. A decent start to the EP with “psycho!” shouted plenty of times to make sure it really sticks in your brain.
Next track “Grinder” on the other hand is more of a homage to Rage Against the Machine. Still nice and heavy with a touch of melody but the RATM influence is undeniable. I especially like the breakdown towards the second half of the song that leads in to a final reprise of the heavy yet surprisingly catchy chorus. This track is also featured in the band’s first music video. Well worth a watch by the way (link below).
And finally, “Don’t Waste Your Breath” is deceivingly melodic at first before developing into what can only be described as sounding like Alice In Chains and Corrosion of Conformity had a baby that grew up listening to RATM. In places I am also reminded of the Northern Irish alternative rock/metal band Therapy? - particularly vocally and with their equally unorthodox use of melody.
Who’s That? is a solid metal debut. Each of the songs has something different to offer whilst remaining true to Agent 47’s evolving sound. My only criticism is that the EP ended far too early. At only three tracks in length I was just getting into the band’s groove when it was over. Even so, it was definitely a decent taste of what the band has to offer and I can’t wait to hear more from them in the not too distant future.
Who’s That? is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/30FeK2PtJQA7sh9zmTEvsy
And here’s the YouTube video:
03/06/19 - Desolate Pathway - Of Gods And Heroes
Desolate Pathway is a three piece doom metal band from Kent and Yorkshire, UK featuring Vince Hempstead on vocals and guitar, Mags on drums and backing vocals, and Jonathan Seale on bass. Formed in April 2014 the band have so far released two studio albums: Valley of the King and Of Gods and Heroes – the latter of which I am going to dive into right away.
The album 'sets sail' with the sounds of being onboard ship transitioning seamlessly into “The Old Ferryman”, a melancholy dirge telling the story of Charon, the ferryman of Hades who transports souls across the River Styx. Later on the track features the equally famous three headed dog known as Cerberus. This is an epic tale told in true epic doom metal fashion with an impressive guitar solo finale. A promising sign of things to come.
“The Perilous Sea” and “Medusa's Lair” continue in much the same vein with the former detailing a ill-fated voyage and the latter chronicling a battle with the snake headed Gorgon known as Medusa. This song of this pair has some fairly obvious Black Sabbath vibes, with one riff in particular that reminds me of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” - in a good way. “Medusas Lair” also features some clever lyrics and uplifting guitar solos. There's so much going on in this one and the riffs just keep on coming.
Getting on for the middle of the album now, “Into The Realms of Poseidon” heralds a change of pace with much slower atmospheric clean guitar overdubbed with some crunchy lead by Kostas Salomidis of Sorrows Path. Midway through however the heaviness from earlier on makes a triumphant return. In this track, the band begs the Greek god of the sea Poseidon to allow them safe passage across his realm only to be seduced by sirens in “Enchanted Voices”. Opening with the sound of those very sirens before quickly descending into some heavy chords, this sixth track twists and changes as often as the waves it describes. Featuring some intricate bass playing courtesy of Santiago Osnaghi of the band Nippur, and near choir like backing vocals, the song is a fitting follow up to the previous tracks journey across Poseidon's domain.
“Gods of the Deep” on the other hand deals with the legend of the Golden Fleece and the sacrifice of a ships crew in order to obtain it. This all provides a monumental backdrop for some heavy riffing and harmonious over-driven lead guitar. This musical theme is continued in “The Winged Divinity” albeit this time the subject matter is Pegasus, another mainstay in Greek mythology. Being the longest song of the album at over seven minutes long, this penultimate track has plenty of scope for an almost classical contrast between progressive bass and lead guitar.
And finally, what better way to end an epic doom metal album than with the story of Troy. “The Trojan War” is a great finale that acts like a classical piece with several distinctly different movements. The perfect combination of heavy and harmony, all of which is underpinned by Mags' superb drumming and topped off with Vince Hempstead's infinitely dramatic vocal range.
Of Gods and Heroes is a solid doom metal release that almost plays out like a concept album. It is very easy to imagine the crew of the ship in the opening track first brokering a deal with Charon before battling Medusa, being dragged down below by sirens and then making their escape on Pegasus - grabbing the Golden fleece on the way of course. And then if all that wasn't enough we are treated to a telling of Paris' legendary kidnapping of Helen of Sparta, instigating the Trojan War. Desolate Pathway have clearly done their Greek mythology homework and it really pays off.
Of Gods and Heroes is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/0yZdih89XjyW3XUYLxTBNF