Review Date: March, 2020
Review by: Pete Mutant
Agarwaen is a project spearheaded by Pauli “Vryko” Hodju which was born from an older band which was joined by Janne Suhonen called Shathanas back in 2005. This Shathanas band had one focus which was ‘Christmas Black Metal’ and released an EP back in 2007. This was before the band ‘got serious’ and changed the name to Agarwaen; they also swapped styles to a more horror metal focus. Under the Agarwaen moniker, one further EP was released in 2010. Vyrko then dropped music for a while and joined the military so Agarwaen took a back step.
Some people can’t help themselves and Vyrko decided to give music another shot so he reignited this buried flame and started writing music. The important part of that statement is that he started writing the music as Vyrko does not actually perform any instrumental duties on this album but he has assembled a crack team of musicians to bring his vision to life.
Agarwaen is horror metal which is always a peculiar subgenre since there’s no one easy to define style implemented. Sure, put some orchestral arrangements over metal of any kind and tell a ghost story and you have…well, Agarwaen. To get into it a little more though, Agarwaen have a more melo-death sound with glimpses of black metal and, but of course, loads of unsettling orchestral synth. Some of the music is pretty standard but some is quite excellently put together.
The album’s opener is a strong one and serves the album well as a starting point. The track ‘Amuku Be’ is a fine example of the hooks the band lure you in with and leave you hanging there like a fresh piece of meat. There’s a real catchiness to a lot of what Vyrko imagined. The symphonic elements add an additional gravitas to the music with tracks like ‘Butchers Day’ utilising this element very well. Of course, it can add a factor of cheese but when used well, you can get a very dramatic effect.
Agarwaen aren’t doing anything too different here with their first full length but there is a lot of quality. The riffs are a bit basic but the leadwork is pretty good. The vocal performance from Edward Torchia is a standout for me, I think he has a very commanding voice which works very well against the backdrop of the music.
Overall, we have a very solid first full length album from Agarwaen. It will depend on how involved Vyrko wants to be to see what will come from this band in the future. It’s also likely that this band makeup won’t hold so who knows if this is a stand alone or not. At least Vyrko and his band of musicians have worked towards a very good first effort. Even if it is their first and last, at least they can be satisfied with what they’ve made.
Band Music Video:
1. The Path Beyond Existence
3. Witch Hunt
4. Beautiful Flesh
5. Amuku Be
6. Restless Souls
7. Butchers Day
8. The Legend Of The Old Slaughterhouse
Pauli “Vryko” Hodju -All Lyrics & Music
Mika Lumijärvi -Drums, Orchestra, Mixing, Producing (Solamnia, Voidfallen, ex-Enthring)
Edward Torchia -Vocals (Torchia)
Petter Mårtensen -Guitars & Bass
Mikaela Mansikkala -Clean Vocals