Review: “Build Fear” by AGLO

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Sludge fuelled Death Metal starship AGLO. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new sounds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before! In the depths of space no one can hear you scream. That makes it the perfect territory for Australian multi instrumentalist Aaron Osborne (IEXIST, Mental Cavity, Extortion) to crack a few skulls with is solo project AGLO and for the purpose he’s joined by drummer Colin Young (Twitching Tongues, Gods Hate, DeadBody). Recorded, and mixed by Taylor Young (God’s Hate, Kruelty, Tribal Gaze) at The Pit Recording Studio and mastered by Brad Boatright (Integrity, Full of Hell) at Audiosiege, his debut album “Build Fear” follows a pair of prized EPs with lyrical themes from Star Trek…

The record begins with the ominous sounding “Last Rites“, a cut which feels like it’s been left purposefully a little raw around the edges to give it Old School Death Metal vibes. The booming voice of Osborne is fuel to that fire, his vocals sounding like he’s a beast trapped in a cave and screaming to be let out for a rampaging killing spree. By way of contrast, the drums from Colin Young sounds relatively crisp and clean and in so being allow the crushing guitar work to reach critical mass fairly quickly. Low and slow with menacing and sinister overtones, the float somewhere between the realms of Sludge, Doom and Death Metal in their abrasions. What’s clever about the opening cut is that it doesn’t necessarily feel like one, Osborne purposefully not going out all guns blazing and instead taking a darker route to remain. The cowbell in the final third cracks an instant smile the haze of headbanging, a piece of the drum kit not used often enough in this reviewers humble opinion. “Storm Of Fears” has an early career Igor Cavalera like almost tribal drum pattern to inject some adrenaline into the dying corpse, the riff a classic Groove Death one worthy of worship. The slower sections drift into Death Doom territory while eerily reminding of the works of Brendan Auld, particularly in the style of the vocal recording and guitar tone. There is no chance of any clean sung vocals here, Osborne’s Death Metal bark having a wonderfully caustic quality to it but there is melody in “Regression” from some delicate leads. Anvil heavy and with some tasteful slower dirge groove laden riffs this one is an unstoppable force.

Cutting the record clean in half like a hatchet through an astronauts helmet, “Relativity Undone” has haunting melancholic leads interwoven into its very fabric, the kit sounding massive in accompaniment. Another that will get you nodding your head in appreciation on the first listen, it servers to ensure the flow of the record is maintained with another high grade slab of polished concrete for the skull. Darker, dirtier and more foreboding “Shame As A Weapon” brings that crushing weight, the writers of Star Trek turning in their graves at the use of what they created being the source material for this monstrosity. There are also a couple of sinister moments of fleeting lead that chemically enhance the atmospheric, adding creepy air before the brutal “Warhead” kicks in with a trademark Kirk Windstein style riff. A step up in tempo in the final third is tastefully done and works incredibly well however there is a question over the speed of maximum warp drive given the limits of the vocal style. Feedback at the end of the cut feels like it’s going to pierce the eardrums and burst a few blood vessels before the emergence of “Into The Maze” as a grand finale. A couple of seconds longer than the version that appeared on the EP to which it gave its title, this rendition is a little more polished while paying homage to Entombed as well as Crowbar with verve and brutal swagger. What more could you possibly want?! [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Last Rites
  2. Storm Of Fears
  3. Regression
  4. Relativity Undone
  5. Shame As A Weapon
  6. Warhead
  7. Into The Maze

Build Fear” by AGLO is out 10th November 2023 via Brilliant Emperor Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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