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Agathodaimon: Serpent's Embrace (remaster)

In the mood for some extremely dramatic German symphonic black metal? Look no further than Serpent's Embrace, the fourth release from Agathodaimon, originally out on Nuclear Blast and now getting the remaster treatment from Metal Mind Productions. This one was first released in 2004, and I'm really surprised that this band flew under my radar, and if that's the case for many of you as well, then read on.

First of all, kudos to the band for getting some great artwork, design, and photography for their albums (this and their first three as well), which helps makes this Metal Mind digipack all the more lavish. Just a gorgeous presentation. The music is a strong representation of modern symphonic black metal, with just the right amount of gothic, prog, and industrial elements to really flesh out the sound. Expect lots of jagged guitar riffs, thunderous drum blasts, screeching screams, melodic clean vocals, and plenty of keyboards. Vocally, these guys really do some great stuff here, with the singing shared by guitarists Akaias (harsh) & Sathonys (clean), as well as bassist Darin (clean), plus there is some guest female vocals as well on one track (the lovely "Solitude"). The mixing of both the harsh and clean styles on songs like "Faded Years" works quite well, and Akaias' raging black metal wailing on the crushing title track or the maniacal "Limbs of a Stare" are quite effective. The way the band combines traditional black metal with progressive rock arrangments, including a variety of keyboard orchestrations, turns tracks like "Cellos For The Insatiable" and "Bitter End" into grand, symphonic metal works. If you crave a more gothic touch, check out "The Darkness Inside", a somber and moody track with plenty of clean vocals and heavy atmosphere.

Strong stuff all around here on Serpent's Embrace, and I'm actually surprised Agathodaimon are not more of a household name at this point. Though I don't have the original release to compare it to, Metal Mind's job on the remaster makes for a powerful listening experience, and there are some multimedia bonus material included for the collector as well. Recommended.

Track Listing

  1. Cellos For The Insatiable
  2. Serpent's Embrace
  3. Rebirth
  4. Light Reborn
  5. Faded Years
  6. Solitude
  7. Limbs Of A Stare
  8. The Darkness Inside
  9. Bitter End
  10. Feelings

Added: September 16th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1937
Language: english

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