01. Barnburner 02. Predation 03. Dance With Devils 04. Adversary 05. White Knights 06. Rapture 07. Deliverance 08. Rattle Me Bones 09. The Opposition 10. Will to Bleed 11. Old Scratch2007 Century Media Records
by Rob Parker
The Agony Scene have written almost as many albums (and gone through almost as many labels) as they have drummers. Now on Century Media, Get Damned sees the band return with a new rhythm section in the form of drummer Ryan Folden and bassist Chris Rye. The progression from The Darkest Red to Get Damned is initially very noticeable in the production, with producer Andreas Magnusson (Black Dahlia Murder, Scarlet) opting for less studio sheen in favour of a grittier feel. Fans of the thick, bass-heavy bludgeon of the sophomore release from these guys will likely find themselves disappointed and lamenting the loss of Brent Masters' subtle flourishes between the blast beats and breakdowns. There's also a shift in emphasis to the guitars and the vocal work, leaving the bass muddled in the background. The guitar work is predictably vicious, composed mostly of tight thrashy riffs, expanding occasionally to give the listener a reprieve. Folden's drumming is solid, with a reliance on double bass and some cymbal work for punctuation and for breakdowns. One can't help but feel as though Magnusson's decision to shift the emphasis off the rhythm section was influenced by Rye and Folden taking longer than anticipated to acclimate. Vocally, Michael Williams sticks with high-end rasping and screaming throughout most of the record, with very little variation. It feels as though Williams consciously distanced himself from the more commercially friendly clean vocals on The Darkest Red, as the only instance(s) of straightforward singing crops up on "Old Scratch." Thankfully, gone is the stereotypical whine/sing of most metalcore acts, replaced instead by a much more mature (or at least weary-sounding) voice that adds a suitably somber note to close out a vocally harsh-sounding record. Get Damned ultimately suffers not from any specific shortcoming as much as the feeling that some of the songs are retreading the same "been there, done that" metalcore conventions that have been around for years. The band does a great job of constructing some mighty slabs of vitriol. They even manage to branch out and break up the monotony by incorporating some sampling, ("White Knights") adding a bit of dimension to the vocal approach, ("Old Scratch") and allowing some of the tracks to open up and allow the listener a few moments of breathing room. ("Rapture") It's during these moments that the band manages to surface from beneath metalcore banality and exhibits a sense of identity. However, it's the songs in between that find the band retreading territory worn thin by the glut of metalcore bands before them. Sure, they retread the territory extremely well, and even when they aren't rising above the conventions, they're capable of writing some solid metalcore. Unfortunately, at this point in time, writing a solid metalcore song is akin to winning the gold medal in curling. Yeah, you did a great job, but it's all too easy to snicker at you. Bottom Line: No band or album needs to reinvent the wheel on every release, so anyone (still) looking for some straightforward metallic hardcore played passionately will find something to pump their fists to here. The moments where the band expands upon their formula finds them pulling ahead of the pack a bit, but it ends up being too little, too late to save the band from often sounding generic for a solid percentage of the album.