31 October 2013

Agharti - Change

I stumbled onto this band by accident whilst on one of my many jaunts through the underworld of the internet. They looked like they might be my sort of thing so I gave them a listen. From that listen I thought I’d review the album for this blog. So I did.

Agharti are a young Croatian band and Change is their second album, though first through a major label. Musically they purvey a familiar brand of symphonic, female fronted, gothic metal; the kind that bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, The Gathering etc.  It’s a genre of music that’s become very generic over the years and, by and large, bands sound quite similar to each other. There’s a lot of clichés inherent to the genre also.

It takes a lot for a band to stand out from the throng and forge a unique and recognisable sound of their own.

 Have Agharti managed that feat? Well, not really. Yes the guitars have a bit more crunch than usual and there are some genuinely great riffs that pop up on Change, vocalist Tina has a strong, clear voice and the keyboards are entertainly parpy, in a pseudo-classical kind of way.

On the whole the songwriting is decent too. Many of the songs have good, strong choruses and there’s an interesting theme of sorts running through the album too, carried along by the three interludes: The Voice Of Freedom, The Voice Of Compassion and The Voice Of Change.

The main problem with Agharti is one of the clichés of the genre I mentioned earlier and it’s the male vocals of (I think!) guitarist Alen. They aren’t great and feel a little superfluous.
Maybe it’s a personal foible but it irks me when bands with a perfectly nice female singer insist on having a chap impersonate a hippopotamus giving birth all over the top of everything.
I get the juxtaposition thing, the light and shade, beauty and ugliness etc but it just sounds forced and passé  to me these days. I can’t honestly think of a band, of this ilk, that the Female/Male vocals works well with; A band that wouldn’t sound better with just the one vocalist. Even the big hitters like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Leaves’ Eyes and early Within Temptation are let down by the male vocals.

So then, Change isn’t really anything new but at least Agharti at least do it really well.  I’m sure that, given the chance, they’ll improve and develop as time passes and become something special.

6 out of 10 - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.

View the band’s website HERE

Listen to Change on Spotify HERE

Buy the CD from the band HERE

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