Review: “Into The Maze” by AGLO

Wearing his love of Star Trek and in particular The Borg on his sleeve, Australian multi instrumentalist Aaron Osborne has picked up where he left of with “Into The Maze” from Sludge fuelled Death Metal solo project AGLO as if he never left the studio after the recording of debut EP “Collector“. In point of fact while this new record features a pair of new cuts, it also features all four that appeared on that debut. Recorded by Lewis Noke Edwards (Gravitate, Circle Of Blood) at The Black Lodge, Mixed by Taylor Young (Twitching Tongues, Terror) at The Pit Recording Studio and Mastered by Brad Boatright (Integrity, Full of Hell) at Audiosiege, this new package represents half an hour of power. It has been described as “six crushing tracks that take the swagger and groove of “Wolverine Blues” by Entombed and infuse it with the tar-thick pull of Doom“, which naturally paints us curious George…

…it has to be said that the opening strains of “Into The Maze” sound like a Crowbar demo with that classic Sludge Metal meloncholic melody but when Osborne’s caustic Death Metal vocals surface for the first time, the Entombed reference makes more sense. It’s the kind of vocal that strips paint at thirty feet and assures destruction of the ear drums in the finest possible way. Usually such one man projects feature the use of a drum machine however to Osbourne’s credit that is not the case here, evidenced by the free flowing nature of the performance that genuinely sounds like the work of a fully fledged band playing live in a cavernous space, the walls shaking with the reverberation of the sound. Mid tempo chugging is the order of the day with a side of sinister edge and “Parasites” gives us the second glance at Osborne’s thoughts are. An intriguing Australian accented spoken word as a bit of horror flare and storyline to this one, which is a really nice touch. Both new cuts are high grade explosive affairs that don’t really fit with the idea that this project is new. This is the work of a seasoned professional who knows what he’s doing when it comes to writing and recording and the musicianship is impeccable.

The next four cuts are the EP “Collector” in full and it hasn’t been remixed or remastered for this package meaning there is a noticeable shift in audio quality. That being said because of the nature of the sound that Osborne is toying with, that only serves to add a sense of nostalgic charm. Adding blues vibes and a pair of interesting solos “Darkened Mirror“, smashes the clock in fear as a thumping Scandinavian influenced Sludge fuelled Death Metal cut of hopeless abandon. Curiously the drum sound is crisp and clean despite the other instruments sounding more like they have a DIY or DIE attitude but nothing can hide the beast that is “Collector“, which is nothing short of an absolute monster. Osborne creates an oppressive tar pit of sound in which to trap his demons and that gives this one a skull crushing feel even before you throw in the sample that confirms total assimilation. It would be really interesting to hear Kirk Weinstein’s vocals over some AGLO riffs, especially with the Louisiana stylings of instrumental “Past” which if someone claimed were a demo from Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity or even Down you would accept with no questions asked. That’s a testament to the level of quality on display here. The record finishes fittingly with “The Journey Home“, a cut that brings ominous bowel clenching gravelly low vocals to the party for a near seven minutes of brutality. There’s really nothing else to say except we want more! [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Into The Maze
  2. Parasites
  3. Darkened Mirror
  4. Collector
  5. Past
  6. The Journey Home

Into The Maze” by AGLO is out 16th February 2023 via Gutter Prince Cabal and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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