AGMEN, Dethroned (2004, Ravenheart)

The skull:
Now that’s what I’m talking about! No Photoshop, no flames, no fucking bullshit. Just a dude in ridiculous bracers gripping a real live skull. That even kind of looks like a genuine piece of bone, and not some plastic replica. It’s still not a very interesting image, but with this cover you know what you’re gonna get: authenticity and boredom. Huzzah!

The music:
I’m not so well versed on Czech black metal, I’m afraid to say. I’ve heard Root and Masters Hammer (neither of whom are particularly pure as black metal goes) and, well, Agmen doesn’t sound like either. This is semi-melodic but generally fast black metal that sounds like something Swedish from the late 90s. A band that’s still all about the darkness and evil, but who also kinda like Dark Tranquillity or something. Think Mithotyn minus the folky bits. It’s not bad, though! Not super awesome, but pretty decent for this sort of thing. Some good riffs, relatively tight songwriting, and sound that’s much better than I was expecting. About the only obviously lame element is the singing, which is half croak, half rasp, but even the vocals are not a deal breaker. I’m probably not going to buy it, because my melodic black metal needs are pretty much already met, but if I was even a little bit more into the genre, I might bite.
— Friar Johnsen