Agarthi - _At the Burning Horizon_
(Red Stream, 1996)
by: Drew Snow (8 out of 10)
Agarthi come from Italy, and play a pretty original blend of symphonic metal combined with elements of death and black, all played with conviction, albeit with a rather weak production effort. Although they employ the use of keyboards heavily, Agarthi don't use the atmospheric, simple sounding effect. Instead, they convey more of an evil, nefarious feeling, with the guitars usually following suit with melodic riffs and some more choppy, Iced Earth-style riffage, all played at a mid-to-fast pace, and with a ton of variation; there's never a boring moment on the 23-minute mini-CD. The vocals here are a little creative, too. Some of the time, your obligatory black rasp (actually more of a black growl, really), some of the time, the growl mixed with a clean male baritone voice, Agarthi went for something original, and it paid off - the vocals are a rather refreshing change from most bands' monotonous single style, although at times the clean vocals sound a bit amateurish, unfortunately. No need to worry about that though, as Agarthi's MCD is still very worthwhile; the truly dark atmosphere, good execution, and perhaps, foremost, the bit of originality should be enough to convince anyone of their musical prowess.

(article published 13/5/1997)

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