The Agony Scene

Get Damned

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Brusquely dismissed by Roadrunner after their sophomore CD, The Darkest Red, failed to do much business, Tulsa's the Agony Scene got another shot at redemption from Century Media, which offered to release their third opus, Get Damned, in summer 2007. Unfortunately, the same, largely one-dimensional and uninventive brand of metallic hardcore that resulted in brief associations with their two previous record labels once again threatens the Agony Scene's immediate career prospects with CM. And with the metalcore movement's fast-decreasing vitality as of late, it's quite discouraging to find the group still trading in increasingly irrelevant idiosyncrasies with no evident progress beyond a few neo-thrash elements found in openers "Barnburner," "Predation," and, later, "Will to Bleed." "Dances with Devils," for example, features that one, most-clich├ęd full-stop breakdown that you've no doubt heard a hundred times, while numerous tracks borrow their staccato attack a little too blatantly from At the Gates and the Haunted (see "Adversary," "Rapture," "The Opposition," etc.). OK, so "White Nights" deserves some credit for its creepy background narration, seemingly edited from the Rev. Jim Jones' final, chilling recordings; but it's not until the album's last track, "Old Scratch" (and to a lesser degree, the somewhat memorable "Deliverance"), that the Agony Scene break out of their constrictive molds with some jaunty licks reminiscent of Lamb of God (not to mention the first clean vocals from tormented frontman Mike Williams, who otherwise screeches unimpressively throughout). Needless to say, though, these rare worthwhile moments can't salvage Get Damned from -- forgive the pun -- damnation. If the Agony Scene actually gets another chance to record, they should count themselves lucky.

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