Thirty years in, Swedish death metal band Wombbath create an amazing new album that is one of the best they have ever released: Agma.
Wombbath started in 1990 and released the first EP of the band’s canon in 1992, Several Shapes. Having gained experience and popularity in the initial run through 1995, the musicians took a break for a couple of decades. Reforming in 2014, the band has been on a tear ever since, producing four long-players and five splits since, not including the new album. The writing is stronger and more inventive than ever, and Wombbath has positioned itself as a pivotal player in the international heavy music scene. The band includes founding member Håkan Stuvemark (guitar) with Jonny Pettersson (guitar and vocals), Thomas von Wachenfeldt (guitar and violin), Jon Rudin (drums), and Matt Davidson (bass).
Agma is a double album with sixteen tracks. The baseline is old school death metal, and you hear that in every track. In addition, most are augmented with surprising additions and twists that deepen the metal experience. For example, “At The Giant’s Feet” has unexpected high-pitch harmony vocals that drop from the sky and startle you. This song is followed by a string of punishing death metal songs, and then you hear “Blindly They Follow” with its soaring vocal pairing to go along with the blast beats and ravaging guitars. “Breathe In the Flames” rolls out at hyper-speed and also has a beautiful violin segment. The album is a sprawling forest of wonder.
Songs that stand out for me include “Misantropi Och Förakt” for its explosive moments and “The Age Of Death” for the sheer unlikeliness of its construction – elements work together that I would never have thought to join up. “In Decay They All Shall Fester” is another one that achieves unity by combining seemingly disparate constituents. The list of strand-outs could be a lot longer. Indeed, Agma might just be my favorite Wombbath album. Highly recommended.
Agma is out today through Transcending Obscurity Records. Check out the links below to see the stunning variety of merch, variants, and bundles that are available for this release. Transcending Obscurity is unmatched on this front – they always have incredible options for collectors.
Band painting by Benny Moberg.
Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/
FFMB review of Tales Of Madness, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/12/18/wombbath-tales-of-madness-transcending-obscurity-2020/