Black Clouds Determinate (LP)
Goatgrind Records - 12 €
With their second full length Agathocles had finally grown up. Whereas their previous album “Theatrical Symbolisation Of Life” suffered from a tendency to incorporate too much death metal both musically as well as productionally, Agathocles had now found the right balance between the majority of their influences, quality songwriting and giving it all a decent but not too sterile or mainstream nor sloppy production.
The performance here is outstanding. Jan has learned to play bass more than decently, drummer Burt once again proves he is one of the ultimate drummers in grind and crustcore and ‘new’ guitarist Steve plays his parts with ease, which makes the album sound very professional.
There’s not much death metal left but the amount of crustcore and hardcore punk rhythms has increased. Songs like “Sentimental Hyprocrisy” had already been written in their earlier days with Chris on guitar, but when Steve joined Agathocles, this kind of songs became more prominent in the Agathocles set. Also very refreshing was the grindcore/reggae blend on “Europe's Fairy Tale”.
Nothing negative about this album? Of course there is. First of all the guitar sound is too foggy. It doesn’t combine too well with the rest of the music and prevents the album from getting really brutal. Secondly a lot of quality songs from that period were not on the album. During their period with Steve Agathocles wrote enough material for dozens of albums and they choose to put as many new songs on the album as possible, but it could have done with some re-recordings of songs from EP’s that were hard to come by or under-produced. If would have liked more re-recordings of songs from their “Distrust And Abuse” EP for instance or the “No Use Hatred” EP. Fortunately these songs were later included or re-recorded on the next two studio albums.
Black Clouds Determinate is definitely a top 3 Agathocles album and this period in their career proved very fruitful.