Review || Agrypnie - "Metamorphosis"

Let me preface this by saying that labels can be confusing. You hear a band being described as "avant-garde" and "post black metal", and immediately have preconceived ideas of what to expect; a tempo crawling on the floor, maybe some occasional relentless pummeling, an overall otherworldly feel, a raw oldschool production, the list can go on forever. Thankfully, Germany-based act Agrypnie don't fall in such traps with their new album, "Metamorphosis", which arrives on July 30th 2021 via AOP Records.

The symphonic prologue hardly prepares the visitor for what's to come and while I wasn't familiar with Agrypnie, their sound almost hits home, evoking a somewhat nostalgic feeling of when I first discovered and fell in love with darker parts of the Scandinavian metal scene as a teenager. 

"Metamorhposis" is a very consistent album. It is raw but not aggressive; instead it dwells in a comfortable obscurity and the body of the sound envelops the listener. It is impossible to take the entire album in on one listen; the intricacies and various nuances that create intense emotions go beyond the surface and display a great level of musical maturity. The majority of the songs are quite long in duration, which on average ranges from five to eleven minutes and still manage to flow one into another. As the instrumentation sets the atmosphere for the album, the sound seems to move like a wave, in an almost spiritual way, between hard-hitting guitars and the assaulting double-bass pedal, and then retreating to more down-tempo crushing melodies. It is also worth noting how the guests (namely C.S.R. of Schammasch, Steffen Bettenheimer of The Cold Room, Nachtgarm of Negator and Travos of Thormesis) add their own, interesting flavors.

The emotion-filled heaviness however does require that the listener is in a specific mindset before hitting 'play', which (along with the length of the tracks) is my main reservation on the appeal of the album. Regardless, the outcome is very confident. If I were to pick favorites, those would be "Verwuestung", "Melatonin" and the two "Am Ende Der Welt" without second thoughts.

Overall, "Metamorphosis" is a brilliant record of somber soundscapes entwined with raw, rugged emotional content. Agrypnie have created a release flaunting a multitude of genre elements that all fall into place, knitting a tapestry of impressive song-writing ability and ambition to reach beyond their pre-established boundaries.

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