Everyone has seen or heard that thing that someone just nailed head on; hitting the mark with only one shot as though they didn't even have to try. It's that organic creation that feels like it exists out of necessity rather than desire or passion. Noisem's first full length Agony Defined is exactly that: something organic that feels less calculated and more like a bestial birth that was always meant to be. Something that is simply done in near-perfect form that will shatter your ear drums.
Noisem (formerly Necropsy, and the millionth band that laid claim to that name… also not the first to give it up) are a death/speed metal band at heart but with elements of grind and d-beat in tow, making up one of the more exciting acts in metal. Young as they may be, they are also one of the most promising bands for the future of metal.
Agony Defined moves at lightning speed. It doesn't fuck around. It doesn't bullshit. It's not playing. This is pure, stripped down speed and death metal on PCP. The opening of the album fires right into a solo, wasting not a second to bring the business. “Voices in the Morgue” is a driving beatdown song that pushes forth like a hearse with a jet engine. It's a taste of exactly what you're in for and sets the standards of the album. Every track follows in this destructive wake. “Birthing the Bestial” is no different. With nary a slow down, the piece pushes right through like a buzzsaw.
One could argue that Noisem have a momentary lapse of speed in “Mortuary,” the first track to sort of do so. The vocals start to sound tired and spent, as though they're running out of energy. But it's really just a ruse. Like a predator in the dark, the band slams right back into gear and burns through the rest of the song with destructive velocity.
Vocals sound hungry and desperate. It's like vocalist Tyler is trying to crawl through the speakers and tear you to strips. Songs like “Desire and Disgust” really exemplify this with his vicious bark. The instruments compliment his attack. The stars of the album often feel more like the wailing guitars than anything else. The solos are so well constructed it is maddening. They're what also really make the songs stand apart. Just listen to “Birthing the Bestial,” a wailing piece that drives up and down, until pushing a spooky whine of slides and bends. Or the excellent “Split From the Inside Out” which has elements of speed, finger tapping, and some bluesy licks.
If there is one complaint that anyone could have about this album its that the songs can feel a little blended, with rhythm sections feeling familiar from song to song. It hardly matters though, what with the longest song being three-and-a-half minutes and honestly, I didn't even notice until about my fifteenth listen. I guess I was too busy snapping my neck from how raging this album is.
Agony Defined is an incredible album by an extremely talented band that doesn't sound forced or generic in anyway. It's like the marriage of Repulsion with that of old school Slayer. I mean, I guess you could call this one a ripper. If by “ripper” you mean something that walks into your room and shreds your fucking face like a cheese grater.