Wombbath, Agma (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

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.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wombbathdeath.bandcamp.com/album/agma-death-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Wombbath

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/

Wombbath, Agma (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Wombbath, Tales Of Madness (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Back for a second round this year, Wombbath honors the past and looks to the future with Tales Of Madness.

Sweden’s highly regarded Death Metal band Wombbath came together in the early 1990s. Their first LP in 1993, Internal Caustic Torments, made a solid impression and the future looked more than merely promising. Events conspired to sidetrack the band, but the return came in 2015 with furious energy, releasing Downfall Rising, a resurrection to be sure. Since then they have been on a rampage. The Great Desolation came out in 2018, and earlier this year, Choirs Of The Fallen. And now, driving the final nail in 2020’s coffin, we have Tales Of Madness, a collection of re-recorded classics alongside new songs. The lineup has evolved over time, too. Originator Håkan Stuvemark is joined by Jonny Pettersson, Thomas Von Wachenfeldt, Jon Rudin, and Matthew Davidson.

There are eight tracks on the new album. Some of the re-recorded songs go back to the band’s earliest demo, Brutal Mights (1992), including “Tales From The Dark Side,” “Brutal Mights,” and “Unholy Madness.” One of my favorites from way back when is there, too, “Lavatory Suicide Remains” from the 1994 EP Lavatory. The newly worked versions are true to the original intentions, with an upgraded, fuller sound. Several bands have made this move on their older material, with varying degrees of accomplishment. Here it is a great success.

Among the new pieces, “The Fleshly Existence Of Man” stands out for me because of its intensity and penetrating opening guitar line that curls around your inner ear and stays there. It includes a haunting violin and whispering sinister choir segment that serves to drives the hard music in deeper. Overall, it is astonishing how well the new versions of the old songs match up with the current music created by the band. The clear arc between the past and the now bodes well for the future – new music has already been announced for next year. I can’t wait to hear it. Recommended.

Tales Of Madness is available now from Transcending Obscurity through their on-line shop(s) and other outlets as well, like Bandcamp. The digital is instant gratification, and if you are into solid objects, no label has greater variety or more impressive products than Transcending Obscurity.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wombbathdeath.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-madness-death-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Wombbath

Transcending Obscurity, https://tometal.com/

US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Wombbath, Tales Of Madness (Transcending Obscurity 2020)