Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 6/14/2005
Agents Of Man
Count Your Blessings
posted on 6/2005 By:
It’s getting very difficult to heap praises on even the most talented of metalcore acts these days. There is a formula for success and the bands who do it well are the ones you have all heard of by now. At some point the faceless legions that assign paragraph and rating to music recordings will have to stop insisting that a person who follows a recipe in a cookbook is engaged in bold culinary feats. I suggest that they are following a recipe; precisely the sort of endeavor Century Media’s relatively new signing Agents of Man manage to avoid in impressive fashion. The core pedigree reads a bit like a purebred member of the national kennel club. Counting amongst their roster former members of Bulldoze, Sworn Enemy, Elements DEC, and Train of Thought; the lineup has been around since metal and core began to merge in earnest and can easily claim decade long veteran status in the stateside core scene.
The catchy melody will certainly draw K.S.E. comparisons, and the people who hate that band vehemently may write these New Jersey boys off without any further consideration. Beyond such careless once-over analysis lays a solid foundation built on NYHC gang backup vocals and punishing breakdowns that ooze conviction. Woven together like a nearly perfect tapestry of varied influence, Count Your Blessings manages to completely avoid being derivative with nonlinear song structure and some of the most intriguing instrumentation I have ever heard from this style of music. Energetic dual guitar work sends melodic leads spiraling through the grating mass of staccato rhythm guitar, blended reverb soaked acoustics, and clean vocals; powerful and honest clean vocals. Not overly sing-songy or contrived, the man belts out with what he’s got and lets a few imperfections get by.
Further bucking the trend, the album passes on the sterile production so many current metalcore acts end up with due to an inflated recording budget and lack of real emotion. A bright and organic sounding for once un-triggered drum kit pulses in the background complemented by a deadly serious artillery strike of bass tone. The album’s ninth track, “Murder” spins through some dissonant distortion and clean passages before culminating in a perfect old school breakdown and perfectly illustrates how effective the recording job is. The snug mix is representative of the band as a unit, sounding more like a really fantastic live album than a studio performance. Agents of Man represent everything that gives core use and credibility in my book: Sincerity, Motivation, and Aggression. For a record full of songs that transcend a stale genre that has become its own worst enemy, look no further.
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