Dark Pantheons EP

Back in 2002, 7 years before Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s debut Oracles, before Scrambled Defuncts, before. Ex DeoThe Monolith Deathcult, there was a brutal death metal band from the US called Agiel and they were using full on orchestration in their death metal. Now, bands like Hollenthon and Septicflesh were using orchestration and such, but Agiel were playing Unique Leader (their actual label back then) styled blasting death metal and in on 2002s Dark Pantheons Again Will Reign,  it was ahead of it’s time and was helpful in introducing drummer the relatively unknown Tim Yeung to the world.

Well, after over a decade of relative inactivity lone original member, vocalist and keyboardist James Taylor has animated the band with a new line up and redone 5 songs from the 2002 debut with more orchestration and very slightly different structures and vocals. The core sound of the 5 songs (“Dark Pantheons”, “Deeds Rendered Upon The Flesh”, “The Awakening”, “Serpent Masquerade”, “Andromeda”) is the same as the debut, albeit with a better production (though the drums sound a bit programmed) and Taylor has essentially made the the much more dramatic orchestration the focal point of the music, rather than injections here and there as with the debut album. The end result is well, basically, Fleshgod Apocalypse, it’s that simple. It’s fast technical/brutal death metal rendered with a continual backdrop of strings/brass and choirs. So if you are are fan of either Agony of Labyrinth, you will lap this up.

Luckily this combination does it for me, even if it feels a little like Taylor realizing that Fleshgod’s sound  has been pretty well received and wanting a piece of the action (that or trying to acknowledge his band was doing it way earlier). Either way, the improved sound and vastly more utilized keyboards come across as well done and well put together.The whole thing comes across as pretty epic and suitably presented, fitting today’s much more adventurous and varied brutal death metal scene. The songs sound better, bigger and fuller  and the brutal, sweeping majesty is impressive, even if I cant help shake the aura of their Italian peers, right down to some clean croons in the last couple of songs.

At 18 minutes, Dark Pantheons is more of an appetizing teaser, though I’ll be interested how Taylor and co. develop new songs and whether they are simply doing it to ride Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s coattail, or as they did 12 years ago- forge their own sound.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 7th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    Well, it´s not like they’re playing Deathcore, right? How many bands are currently playing this style? 4 maybe 5?
    Also, they played this style before, maybe they believe they were ahead of their time. Let´s give them a second chance, I believe fans of this style will be happy to have another quality band taking the orchestrated brutal death metal angle.

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