A bedraggled woman sprawls on a sidewalk and stares with concern at the baby she cradles in her arms. A businessman, well-dressed, walks quickly away; his eyes ahead and face a stony set. Is he abandoning her to a fate he delivered or is he merely a minion of the apathetic masses we call Human? In the foreground, between them, a monk of the night offers us this world whilst the gleam in his eyes possesses the conviction that something evil is coming. A red wall casts lurid light on their side but on the other a mansion bedecks a green lawn beneath a blue sky. But even there, in that clean world, a storm is coming.
Already the CD cover’s got me guessing as to what’s on its way. Pushing “Play”, i realize that it’s an assured AGRO filled with good lyrics and hideous, metal strength.
Enter ‘Forthcoming’, the eponymous opening track that soars with drama and heralds the great, power rock to come. ‘Woken By Silence’ and ‘Chalk Outline’ banged my head into motion. Strength resides here; musically and lyrically. There’s no let up with the TWISTED SISTER cover ‘The Price’. Simultaneously, it reminisces the best of metal history and rebirths into a relevant now and future.
AGRO prove that they aren’t all death with the fun beer-drinking-kinda-song ‘Ein Prosit’ (this attitude will be rediscovered, albeit briefly, two minutes after the last track). I was initially fooled into thinking that ‘Till Death’ was formulaic but corrected when it speared off into melodious directions that combined with re-entering heavy instruments and vocals, proved a no-let-up attitude. ‘Culling the Meek’ belongs to the same family but with an emphasis on metallic guitaring that leads to an ending so harmonious that i was imagining monks singing.
‘Through the Chaos’ maintains the pace but ‘My Scars Are Real’, ‘A Rule So Deformed’ and ‘At Liberty’ don’t. It’s not that they’re bad tracks, it’s just their misfortune to be compared to preceding greatness. But the finale with ‘the Tree II’ is awesome and compares to wonderful story atmospherics of other great bands. It clocks in at a ten minutes well spent. Apply that attitude to the whole of Forthcoming.