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label: Purity Through Fire
Released at: September 22, 2023
A still-mysterious quintet hailing from the black metal hotbed of Finland, AGANTHROS formed in 2021 and digitally released their debut demo a year later. Those two songs served as a swift foretaste of the band's forthcoming debut album, Syntiset Saatanat Kurjat, which is at last at hand.
Unlike the vast number of bands honoring their homeland's prevailing black metal paradigm, AGANTHROS walk their own left-hand path both lyrically and especially sonically. Those lyrical themes of course include Satanism and the left-hand path; others more or less include the noble tragicalness of humanity and life. Gazing within instead of outside and walking the sewers of the individual and collective subconscious, AGANTHROS on their debut album musically illustrate such pathos through a wide-ranging but always-melodic sturm und drang style of black metal that bears similarities to Finnish iconoclasts Enochian Crescent and Trollheims Grott - or, thinking further afield of Finland, the avant-garde angularity of Ved Buens Ende meeting the spiraling melodicism of Mgla. However, such references are merely a springboard from which to meet AGANTHROS on Syntiset Saatanat Kurjat. From its disarming folk-inflected opening on through the rest of its 41-minute runtime, the album bracingly balances a whole host of extremities that the band masterfully wrangle to their own design, reaping triumphant rumbling on to twisted nightmare psychedelia. You never quite know what's coming next, but AGANTHROS thread it together with punishing physicality and serpentine flow. Refreshingly different and yet timeless all the same, Syntiset Saatanat Kurjat sounds the trumpets for the new/now sound of Finnish black metal.