Crossover thrash is one of those genres that doesn’t seem to get covered as often as most of the others out there, though in recent years bands like Power Trip and Iron Reagan have pushed the style back into the public eye. But there have been plenty of groups trying their hand at the genre for those that want to look beyond the major labels. One great example of this is New York’s Agony Kings, whose self-titled debut is set for release on October 6th. While there isn’t a lot of info out there about the band, the promo material for the album says it has been in the works for over ten years and features Mike Stack from fellow New Yorkers False Gods on vocals. So what’s a crossover thrash album that’s had ten years put into it sound like? Today we’re excited to bring you a full stream of the record so you can find out for yourself.
Agony Kings is very rooted in the old-school crossover thrash sound, so there are quite a few moments during the thirteen track album that sound like they could’ve been ripped out of the late 80’s or early 90’s. That’s not a bad thing, especially when it’s delivered with the type of speed, precision, and intensity that is present here. Compared to some of the others out there that come off as sloppy and rough around the edges for the sake of speed, it’s clear that the ten year incubation period has given these guys the chance to hone their skills and deliver riffs and bass lines that feel like a well-oiled machine hell-bent on destruction. Stylistically Agony Kings are pulling from many of the traditional crossover influences, but they also speed things up to the point that the frantic riffs and drum beats approach grind and powerviolence territory. Plus there’s plenty of old-school New York hardcore influence to go around, with the band slowing things down at the perfect moments for some rougher grooves.
Mike Stack fits in well with what the band is going for on their self-titled, delivering screaming that is able to hit both high and low pitches. It’s the type of aggressive pitch that stands above the instrumentals and hits you right in the face with every word, and compared to his vocals with False God there’s a bit more versatility to the performance. Plus you’ve got some well-placed sound clips that fit well with Agony Kings’ subject matter, and the band doesn’t overuse them to the point of exhaustion. Stack never wavers in intensity, and this consistently aggressive approach benefits the album as a whole.
They’re not reinventing the genre by any means, but Agony Kings old-school sound hits hard and manages to move between fast grind-leaning moments and hardcore chugging in a way that makes the songs distinguishable from one another. The production values are razor sharp too, giving a slightly modern sheen without losing the late 80’s grit crossover thrash is known for. Agony Kings’ self-titled debut is out October 6th, and hopefully it won’t be another ten years before we get a follow-up.