Agathodaimon - Phoenix

14 songs
72:38 minutes
***** ****


The dark companions from Mainz nearly took five years to release Phoenix, the successor of Serpent’s Embrace. The patience has been rewarded, as the Germans are back with a very varied album. The long running time surprised me at first, yet there are no overlong tracks or hidden bonus material, just a majority of songs that lie between five and six minutes.

The cover artwork hints at classic black metal, but you can expect much more. Many tracks use a black metal frame but generally allow for many other genres. Already the ingenious opener Heliopolis, where you can find next to some industrial also a few electronic sounds, makes you hungry for more. This high quality level is maintained throughout the album, and the songs are splendidly filled with breaks. Symphonic arrangements, dramatic passages, gothic influences and some evil metal outbursts guarantee a multi-layered listening experience. Although most of the time the band is opting for an extreme sound, the doom-like Winterchild shows some potential to become a club hit. Time Is The Fire is another highlight where the band surprises with progressive structures. This all is matched by the fitting vocals of Ashtrael who masters everything from deep growls to higher pitched shrieks. Bonus tracks come in the form of two versions of Alone In The Dark, although I don’t know if Agathodaimon reference the video game or the related movie. While the Death Angel’s Shadow version makes an adequate balancing act between black and dark metal, the Soundtrack version is once again a highlight. The female guest vocals make for a melancholic atmosphere.

Despite its extremely long running time, Phoenix has become a great album of a band that always comes instantly to the point. Agathodaimon’s experience is undeniable, making Phoenix a great choice for fans of darker extreme metal.

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