Wombbath – Agma

If we were to consider what all top-tier bands of death metal would be releasing material this year, I wouldn’t have put Wombbath on the list. We had just heard from the modern legends at the tail end of last year for their 30th anniversary, but even though it was a compilation to celebrate their past I don’t think many of us thought we’d be hearing again from them so soon. There’s nothing quite like seeing a need-to-know band put out a record that cannot be considered anything other than quintessential for not only themselves but the style as a whole, but it’s those that witness its glory that knows what has been given to the world. Wombbath has never once been an act to miss no matter what incarnation we’re talking about, but you cannot sit here, look at “Agma”, and tell me it’s not a damn-near-perfect death metal opus.

Even just trying to think about how I’m going to talk about this is getting on my nerves. I’m at a real loss for words for what Wombbath has crafted here since like I said, they’ve never once ever been a band to put out a record that can be skipped over or called boring since they’ve always been a corner-stone of what Sweden has ever been capable of in their vast hordes of death metal acts they’ve always commanded. Yet, no matter what, Wombbath has always been a name in the mouth of anyone who claims to have a respect for what Swedish death metal has ever been, but artists of a significant caliber are rarely content to sit in one place for long, repeating themselves album after album, never venturing into new territory. Wombbath are bonafide masters of their craft, and while they’ve never once sounded bored in their performances since their resurgence in 2014 I can only imagine they’ve had a real itch to try something new. Without betraying the sound that they’ve become synonymous with, it’s with a virtually flawless double-album that Wombbath delivers a jaw-dropping, exquisite performance that can only be considered the apex of death metal in recent times.

On one hand, we have more than enough of the vicious brand of death metal that this band has become known for in spades with this creation such that it is sure to satisfy anyone coming into this experience who wants some death metal and to get the fuck out, no questions asked. But then it’s when we go to the other hand that we see Wombbath taking relatively small steps aside that are executed with such wonder that it makes a dramatic difference with stunning results! Rather than making changes that shift their sound into a completely different direction, it’s strategic dabbling that’s taking place as we see Wombbath place around with a different breed of vocals, exploring different sound structures that death metal does not see often enough, and even the addition of instruments with the most notable being a violin that has a true menagerie of invocations from god-fearing wonder to ominous mystery that gets right underneath their skin. Lay that beautifully on top of the vastly undeniable power of Wombbath and that instantly makes “Agma” not only one of the band’s absolute greatest works out of a discography of landmarks, but I cannot help but feel compelled to call this one of the most gripping works of death metal that I’ve heard in years with every vein of the style taken into account without exception.

The very essence of “Agma” is enough to blast away the competition at the very flick of a wrist, and it’s with each of these sixteen massive tracks across the seventy-plus-minute excursion that is this album that the listener is thrown into a dominion that Wombbath has complete sway over as we see them come to a peak that I don’t think any of us could’ve ever seen coming for all that they’ve already accomplished. It’s intoxicating. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s the very definition of power! It’s everything that death metal should be in the modern era! It’s the pinnacle of death metal in 2021 and the very glory of “Agma” cannot and should not be denied for all that it deserves!

“Agma” releases on December 31st via Transcending Obscurity Records!

LISTEN to singles from “Agma” on Bandcamp here.

LIKE Wombbath on Facebook here.

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