Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mad Agony: Chernobitch (2013)

Mad Agony is another of those bands that have recently re-formed even though precisely no one was clamoring for a return.  They previously released a demo in 1992 before disbanding in 1993 and then returned in 2011.  This is their first full-length album.  I do not really know what lead to the re-formation of this long-dead Italian traditional metal band.  All I know is that they have re-formed.

The album starts off with the intro track, "Industrial Waste" building into the title track "Chernobitch", which I think misses the point of what Chernobyl was.  Musically, Mad Agony bears a strong similarity to German heavy/power metal bands such as Primal Fear, Sinner, Accept, and others.  The songs are melodic, but the riffs definitely have a heavy, razor-sharp edge to them.  Vocalist Max Zanetti has a powerful, wailing voice that furthers the comparison to Matt Sinner.  It fits the music very well and calls to mind metal vocalists from the early 1980's.

The big problem with this release is that a lot of the songs tend to drag at times.  Mad Agony is trying to do a little too much musically at times and the band loses focus and the songs suffer.  There are a few songs that could be a minute or two shorter and would be much better for it.  They are at their best when they are playing fast and heavy, loud and proud.  The straightforward material is the best material here.  Mad Agony even succeed with the much slower and acoustic-driven "Eclipse of a Friend", particularly during the remarkable guitar solo work.  The ultra fast, thrashy section in the middle of "The Poetry of Rage" is another triumph.

The album is a tad on the long side, but it is interesting and entertaining enough.  For those looking for some real 1980's-style German heavy metal, Mad Agony fits the bill.  Or you could just turn on those well-worn Accept albums instead.  Your choice.

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