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Releases of the Week: Agoraphobic Nosebleed & Sonny Moore by subsonicd1sc0rd

PhotobucketAgoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalyspe

Although active since 1994, Agorapocalypse is only the second, proper full-length that these Massachusetts grinders have put out. To give some background, Agoraphobic Nosebleed features Scott Hull, the guitarist of the infamous Pig Destroyer. He not only plays guitar for this project, but he programs drums. In fact, Agoraphobic Nosebleed are mainly responsible for influencing the surge of “cyber-grind” bands in the recent past.

With Agorapocalypse, the group expanded their sound to include elements of thrash, speed-metal and hardcore to the previously total-grind attack. The inclusion of vocalist Kat Katz (who looks more fit to be on a runway than in the extreme metal scene) propels the aggression factor to new levels with terror-inducing screams. Her voice fits perfectly among the equally brutal pipes of Richard Johnson and J. Randall. The tri-vocalist approach stands out on the groovy “Trauma Queen”, a track that finds Agoraphobic Nosebleed at their sludgiest.

Described as a slab of “gonzo violence”, Agorapocalypse is the product of years of drug-abuse (just look at the album art if you don’t believe it). The deranged and warped sound that is produced will certainly not appeal to everyone. In fact, I know a handful of metal-heads that cannot handle the absolute onslaught that is Agoraphobic Nosebleed. For those of us that can understand the artistic appeal, this album surpasses expectations and will undoubtedly be a candidate for AOTY.

Sonny Moore – GyPhotobucketpsyhook

Remember when From First To Last’s Dear Diary came out? Sure it wasn’t anything innovative but it was a really fun listen for those who didn’t mind vocalist Sonny Moore’s high-pitched vocals. Fast forward five years and Sonny is on his own, pursuing an electronic-based project that was recently signed to Atlantic Records. His first solo release, entitled Gypsyhook, is exactly what Dear Diary was… a guilty pleasure. Accompanied by (frequently cheesy) layers of synth and techno-friendly drumbeats, Sonny’s voice is certainly unique but often reaches levels of annoyance. The fact that there are only three original tracks on his debut is even more annoying. The remainder is made up of remixes and a Japanese version of the song “Mora”- a cool idea that was poorly executed.

While I can’t really understand why Atlantic Records would want to sign Sonny, besides the fact that he has a strong following of fourteen year old girls, I have to commend him for sticking with a vision he’s had for a long time. Gypsyhook leaves me wanting more because I don’t feel as if this is an accurate representation of Sonny’s talent. It seems as if the single-oriented songs were chosen while the darker, more soulful demos were scrapped. This is unfortunate but it’s the price to pay for being on a major label. Bottom line: its an underwhelming release that will not have much staying power.

– Jeremy Garber

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