Agony By Default

AGONY BY DEFAULT is a one-man project started by Matthew D. "Axl" Brammer in 2013. […]
By Liam Easley
December 11, 2018
Agony By Default - Refleksjoner album cover

AGONY BY DEFAULT is a one-man project started by Matthew D. "Axl" Brammer in 2013. Going into this, I expected AGONY BY DEFAULT to be extremely generic Melodic Death Metal. I looked at the project's discography, and it debuted with their first album last year. In fact, it released two albums last year. Looking at what is presented on the most recent album, "Refleksjoner," an album one hour in length, I expected it to be torture.

I don't particularly indulge in Melodic Death Metal. In fact, I typically despise it because of its unoriginality and its inseparably predictable structure. However, AGONY BY DEFAULT, despite having, in my opinion, rushed their third album, is not all that bad. I was particularly dreading the two songs that were seven minutes in length. A Melodic Death Metal song that doesn't lose its edge and maintains my attention for seven minutes? Such a thing seemed to not exist until I listened to "Invincible," a song that you just know from its title will have lyrics along the themes of DISTURBED.

"Invincible" is a seven-minute song on this album, and it is definitely one of the highlights. Because for the first time in my life, I have found a modern Melodic Death Metal song that was not completely predictable. The lead work was astonishingly quirky for a melo death outlet, and the riffs, at one point, got fairly technical. Speaking of the nice leads, they emerge once again at the end of "The Darkened Sun" and throughout "The Path of a God".

"The Path of a God" is another highlight on this album, having unpredictable change-ups in riffage and great leads. It also has a cool interlude with piano, nylon guitar, and acoustic guitar. It sounds very ambient, and it serves its purpose well. The interlude is transitioned into and out of very effectively, and the overall song is probably my favorite on the album. One thing I really like about this project is the vocals. Usually Melodic Death Metal vocalist change pitch with the music, but Brammer's vocals are more monotone, something that makes this album pack a bigger punch. He's also guttural, especially for melo death.

To say that this album isn't what I expected would be a lie. The leads are awesome, and the overall sound is good, but it still has that typical Melodic Death Metal structure. Now, I'm not going to lie, I'm really enjoying the structure on this album. I know I haven't always been a fan of this style, but AGONY BY DEFAULT is doing something right here, and I just can't seem to pin it down. The riffs are nowhere near noteworthy, but they are very effective both in the way they sound and the way they give the guttural vocals a foundation.

Overall, this is a cool album. It's got a nice sound and it isn't completely stuck trying to out-melody all of the other melo death bands out there. From the nice grooves of "Until It Bleeds" that kick the album off to the heaviness of "Overcome" that ends it, Brammer shows that he can go beyond stereotypical Melodic Death Metal.

8 / 10









When clicked, this video is loaded from YouTube servers. See our privacy policy for details.
"Refleksjoner" Track-listing:

1. Until It Bleeds
2. The Sorrow in Your Eyes
3. Reflections
4. Tear Down the Walls
5. Invincible
6. Ghosts
7. The Darkened Sun
8. Witness to Our Demise
9. The Path of a God
10. Eternity Awaits
11. Survival
12. Revelations
13. Overcome

Agony By Default Lineup:

Matthew D. "Axl" Brammer - Guitars, bass, vocals, drums, piano

linkcrossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram