Hiatus was my introduction to Agent. I first heard it in the background of one of those skate, surf and snow extreme sports shows that were on television before the advent of Emo and fast internet. Nearing the end of a month long Tool binge in anticipation of the rumoured new album, and ready for a change, the song became my new obsession and a major influence for my own band.
Even now I play it when Iím in the mood for something complex and progressive with that hard hit to the rib cage as the band drops. To this day I regret the missed opportunity to purchase Agentís previous album Expand/Contract when I saw it in the Warehouse. It was the only copy Iíd seen in Palmerston North, but I was a poor student sidetracked from a mission to buy a week worth of noodles. That was 2006.
Has it really been seven years?
Agent have expatriated to London since I last heard them. Their latest album Kingdom of Fear has just been released, and I was relieved to find that after seven years their sound has remained the same. Their sound is still complex, multi-layered, atmospheric and progressive rock, tickling the borderlines of metal and djent.
At times the only comparison one can make is to Tool, which should be taken as the highest compliment, especially from such a fan and for a band from the Ďnaki. I need more than two weeks to properly dissect this complex album, and be assured, this CD will be staying in my stereo until the next Tool album.
In retrospect, relieved is not the right word to describe how I felt listening to Kingdom of Fear. English doesnít really have a word to explain how I feel about this album. To properly relate my first reaction to Agentís newest album, you need to picture a long haired and bearded bogan on a beanbag with a pair of those oversized, 70ís as, earmuff like headphones, eyes watering, closed and tilted to the ceiling, mouth agape after passing the only two words I could manage; ďFuck. Yeah.Ē Is eargasm in the dictionary yet?
Kingdom of Fear is out now and ripping undies everywhere. If there is one album you buy to celebrate New Zealand Music Month, make it this album. Highly recommended for fans of Decortica, Cult of Luna, Tool or anything that isnít shit.