The Agony Scene - Get Damned (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Agony Scene

Get Damned (2007)

Century Media

In the great buffet that is life it is important to keep an open mind or else you might miss out on some seriously satisfying opportunities. If I had never followed this philosophy I never would have discovered the joys of eating sour patch kids with jalapeno cheese sauce. The Agony Scene are a band I had checked out previously and thought were actually a reasonably heavy and convincing metalcore band. When I received their latest album Get Damned, cliché alarm bells went off with the cartoonish and silly skull/coffin motif of the artwork. Even so, like with any album I gave it the benefit of the doubt due to my freewheeling ideology.

Aside from the downgrade in artwork since their sophomore effort The Darkest Red, another notable shift is in the band personnel, which included the departure of drummer Brent Masters. While the drumming of new skin-pounder, Ryan Folden, is competent and suits the genre's style it just isn't as impressive as Masters' work with the band. This seems to be symptomatic of this release where the band seems to be relatively content to stick with genre convention rather than really sticking out on their own. The shift in sound could also have something to do with producer Andreas Magnusson, whose claim to fame to my knowledge (if you can call it that) is producing the Black Dahlia Murder where the last album featured great work by Anthrax's Rob Caggiano.

Another problem on this album that is a pretty constant issue with any of their releases is vocalist Mike Williams. While he isn't a bad vocalist, per se, and his inflections keep things fresh enough from song to song, his voice is rather thin and detracts from the overall impact the songs would have.

While the Agony Scene doesn't get very adventurous, the songs themselves are still occasionally well-written enough to make up for it. "Deliverance" delves into slightly more melodic territory in its guitar parts, where a little bit can go a long way to making things slightly more memorable and the breakdown is actually used in an apropos fashion. This brings to mind the one genre cliché they deserve credit for being able to avoid -- superfluous breakdowns. In a smart move, the closing song "Old Scratch" features clean singing on the chorus for the only time on the whole album and that slight deviation of sound helps close the proceedings in such a way that promotes the repeat button. Alternatively, what this vocal change does is highlight that maybe Mike has a better voice for melodic metal singing than for a metalcore growl but since he uses it so little it is hard to gauge.

Though there is enough knowledge on display of how to properly utilize the boundaries of their genre and enough clever riffs to keep Get Damned from getting too monotonous, you get the impression that the Agony Scene have a lot more potential than this album would have you believe.