Agents of Oblivion

Agents Of Oblivion

Agents Of Oblivion - Agents Of Oblivion ©2000 Rotten Records
1. Endsmouth
2. Slave Riot
3. A Song That Crawls
4. Dead Girl
5. Phantom Green
6. The Hangman's Daughter
7. Ladybug
8. Ash Of The Mind
9. Wither
10. Paroled In '54
11. Anthem (for This Haunted City)
12. Cosmic Dancer
13. Big Black Backwards

Somewhere between vintage Acid Bath and total rock mastery exist the Agents of Oblivion. Granted, only Acid Bath's slowest, saddest and most weepy moments - but what a magnificent broach of musical progression is afoot, and for the Agents, what an amazing sensation into which it beautifully coalesces.

Like Dax Riggs and Mike Sanchez need an introduction. With this self-titled debut, the duo interpose their talents upon vistas of glam, progressive rock, psychedelia, rockabilliy and what alternative rock could sound like were it cast under a darker, more melancholic, moody and complex light. Yes kids, it's just that expansive. "Endsmouth", "Phantom Green" and "Ladybug" sway moodily with a modern rock feel, summoning Chris Cornell at his finest, and so does "A Song That Crawls". But at this point, one realizes the band are far more ambitious than merely collaging influences; the track has an odd timing and incorporates a bluesy sort of rockabilly, a recipe that would sound utterly square in execution were the band not pulling it off like bayou veterans. "The Hangman's Daughter" and "Wither" illuminate the far and wide ranges to which Riggs can carry his voice, delivering his trademark lyrics: vivid, unusual, naturalistic, puzzling. Never is continuity (or album's "flow") compromised with the ambit of genres represented; one could easily slip into a deep-green melancholy by album's end.

The recording is characterized by a warm, lush, almost sensual instrumental interplay and production despite the powerul assertions forwarded by Jeff McCarty's and Alex Bergeron's flawless rhythm section. Integral as well is keyboardist Chuck Pitre, who carves a signature into every track; of note especially - a subtle, haunting hammond-like hum on "Cosmic Dancer" and the reigns taken on "The Hangman's Daughter". Not only is there no filler here - every song is exceptional.

Ultimately, what better way to declare "We have arrived!" than with an album of almost unfettered perfection?

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 06/2000

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