Containing 47 minutes of black metal that effectively combines both scathing brutality and grim atmosphere, this as a well-rounded and well-written album that demonstrates a talented and passionate band who are clearly doing what they love.
The band’s style mixes both old and new. Second wave influences can be heard, but these sit comfortably alongside more modern elements, which give their music enhanced presence. The polished, (but not overly so), production also brings the music straight into 2018, further giving the impression of a contemporary proposition. It’s clear that the band have learned a trick or two from the old-school, however, and this combined and merged delivery results in a very enjoyably album of blackened fury and epic, occult grandeur.
The songs mix atmospheric black metal and a touch, (but not too much), of the symphonic style, with a more modern strain of blackened brutality. The music certainly knows how to go for the throat when it needs to, but this is also offset by the immersive keyboards and dark melodies. Agrona seem very much in touch with both their introvert and extrovert sides, resulting in music that shows off its aggression and beautiful darkness in equal amounts.
There’s a blackened death metal influence here too. This manifests chiefly in some of the more muscular riffs; as stated above, Agrona can be quite brutal when they want to.
I haven’t even mentioned the vocals so far. Suffice to say that they do exactly what I would want them to do. With two main singers, plus a backing vocalist and a guest on one song, (I believe), there’s a diverse delivery that still manages to be holistically gelled together. The vocals are harsh and aggressive, ranging from screams to deep, ugly growls. Clean vocals appear on Storms End courtesy of the guest singer, adding a different facet to the music; epic and quite wonderful.
I really like this. Realm of the Fallen features just the right amount of its various influences. Traditional black metal, influenced by the likes of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, and a touch of Mayhem? Yep. An atmospheric approach that has decent symphonic and Gothic elements without going too much over into these territories? Yep. A brutal, aggressive side that combines the esoteric forthrightness of Behemoth and someone like Marduk at their most scathing? Yep. A thoroughly modern veneer that coats everything like a sleek, venomous predator? Yep.
Basically Realm of the Fallen is high quality, hideously impressive, and thoroughly enjoyable. With personality, character, and bucketfuls of blackened charm, this album is extremely strong.
Very highly recommended.