AGATHOCLES,Trail of Despair(2011, Selfmadegod)
Heavy metal cover art is rarely allegorical, but I think a close reading of this piece is illustrative. You see, the syringe represents the MMR vaccination, and the skull represents autism, and the four logos represent what the fuck is wrong with you fucking people who don’t vaccinate your fucking children? I don’t care if Jesus and Jenny McCarthy came to you in a dream; if you don’t vaccinate your kids you deserve to be punched hard in the crotch by carnies. Pretty deep stuff, really.
For as long as I’ve known about Agathocles, and that’s been nearly as long as they’ve been releasing music, I’ve wanted desperately to like them, because their name is immensely cool. I still don’t know who or what “Agathocles” is, but I still love the sound of it. But, sadly, it has never been possible for me to get into this band, because they are terrible. They were terrible 20 years ago, and they haven’t gotten better. They’re the kind of band that releases 27 split 7″s a year, and every song sounds like the sloppy, first-pass rehearsal room demo of a song Napalm Death eventually ditched for being too shitty. Actually, I’m kidding. They only released 14 splits in 2011. This particular platter is backed by tracks from Nuns Laughter, another BDS alumnus, and both sides together come in under 10 minutes, so at least my suffering was short (especially since I didn’t bother listening to the Nunslaughter, although they were almost certainly better than the Agathocles ones.) Someday I’d like to meet someone who listens to this sort of thing, so I could try to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. People like all manner of awful music for perfectly valid (if usually nonmusical) reasons, and I’m sure there’s a compelling argument to be made for the ongoing existence of this band, but I sure as hell can’t fathom it on my own.
— Friar Johnsen