We asked the band about their 3 most influential records, and Pontus, Christina and Magnus from the band replied with some great choices…
Bolt Thrower – For Victory
Massive is the keyword here. This album has had a massive emotional impact on me, probably been massively influential and the sound and execution is also massive. Bolt Thrower create vast aural landscapes, brutally heavy yet with an always underlying melancholic undertone. Everything topped with lyrics lamenting the horrors and sadness of war. I remember the first few times I listened to this album, lying on my bed in my room in my parents house, with headphones on, being just consumed by the music. I brought a cassette copy of it on my first tour, it it was probably the most played album in the van. And today, many years later, I still get goosebumps when the solo on the title track comes in. Which for me speaks volumes about the quality of this album and the music. The production, and guitar sound especially, are just perfect and Karl Willet gives his most dynamic and powerful vocal performance ever. The uncomplicated yet always so effective guitar melodies and arrangements never fail to strike a nerve, and are instantly hummable while still being incredibly heavy and epic. I think that especially, has been an influence and ambition for me: to create guitar melodies that are simply larger than life.
Lost – Fear-Strach
I was around 10 years old when I started getting into music for real and if I had have chosen something from that time it probably would have been Depeche Mode or Skinny Puppy. But I decided to write about a band that actually influenced me as a singer. Growing up as a young girl, I didn’t really understand girls could also play in bands (this was the 70’s). I was much older when I realised that, when I started going to punk shows and came across some really kick ass women singing and playing in bands.
When we started Agrimonia I knew I wanted my singing to be dark and growly all because of some of the really cool female singers out there. One of them being Agnes from the Polish band Lost. First time I heard them was actually live back in 2001, before their album was out (2003). It was a kick to the stomach, face and heart at the same time. It was so empowering! Lost are punks playing metal, my favourite genre, if you can call that a genre!
The record starts with the sound of crows and it sets a perfect atmosphere. It is heavy and slow in the first song ’Zmierzch’. When Agnes starts singing it is almost like the crows come alive. When I heard her voice the first time I thought it was the heaviest voice I had ever heard. And it made me realise I can do that too.
The tempo rises a bit in the second song ‘Fear’ and in the third song ‘Jak długo jeszcze’ they head back to the punk roots with a d-beat song that makes me think a bit of Agnes’ former band Homomilitia.
They slow it down again in ‘Dwa światy’ and this is how I like them best, when Agnes’ voice really sticks out and works like one of the instruments. ‘Plague’ follows, with a heavier guitar riff in a death metal way and it makes me think about my most favourite band Bolt Thrower in a way.
Their weave of samples, heavy singing and mix of slow to mid-tempo to d-beat really appeals to me. Too bad they were only around for four years.
It is not a complicated album, pretty straightforward but at the time it was unique for me and a soundtrack to that time. We had been going through some tough times here in Göteborg with police attacking a huge demo, against the EU summit and George Bush’s visit, and shooting, almost killing one of the participants. So the song ‘Imprisoned’ hits a nerve with me. When I listen to it and close my eyes it takes me back there. I shiver!
Slayer – Reign In Blood
I think about this record in one way or form more or less every day and have been doing so for at least 24 years now. First song I heard from Slayer was ‘Dittohead’ from the album Divine Intervention in 1994. I was thirteen and blown away by its high velocity punky thrash metal. I had mostly been listening to punk up until that point which I still love, but right there, right then I understood how much bigger the world of aggressive music actually is. I started researching the Slayer discography and immediately stumbled on the best record I’ve ever heard to date, and the record I have chosen to write about in this article: Reign In Blood.
The energy, the controlled chaos, the ominous feeling mixed with uncompromising speed and that unmistakable sense of groove in the midst of it all. True, a lot on this record is atonal and there are several series of chromatic riffs, and I totally love it. Nothing is out of place, nothing is replaceable, nothing is meaningless on this record, as Tom screams in ‘Necrophobic’: It’s ripping you apart, severing flesh, gouging eyes and tearing you limb from limb. And it only needs 29 minutes, or 28:58 to be precise, to do it. The record is short, distinct and to the point, like the track ’Piece by Piece’, that in my opinion doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
The thought of Kerry or Jeff using different scales and/or modes than they do just make me feel a big knot in my chest and sick to the core. I´ve read somewhere that they call their style of soloing and riff making to be the devil’s scale. True or not, I totally get it and really feel the importance of each scream, each note, that really couldn’t be done anywhere else. At least not with that precision and to that effect. It’s so focused and at the same time so volatile. And in the context for me it’s really original as well. It’s unique for Slayer, and their pinnacle is Reign In Blood. I don’t need to jump from planes or do some other stupid shit like that to get my fix of adrenaline. I just need the first 19 seconds of this albums opening riff, then Tom’s scream and adrenaline is gushing from every pore in my body.