ART AGAINST AGONY Tell “Russian Tales”

Since their debut in 2014, Art Against Agony have pushed their own envelope. It can be easily noticed how this art collective developed over time with each of their four releases, which include two full-length albums and two EP’s. Although it may sound a bit pretentious, Art Against Agony are in their own league; they are creating their own genre which melds many different elements.

“Russian Tales” emphasizes metal in favor of dark, atmospheric, speed-crazed, industrialized rock. “Königsberg Präludium” kicks off with some ambient/atmospheric guitar noodling and keeps the same route until its closing bits. Perversely, their “intro” is a crescendo that disappears altogether in a series of guitar vamps.

“Nothing to Declare” is surprisingly melodic, with kind of a post-rock foundation and guitar solo that is all over the place. That’s actually one of the points here and with the band in general; they often switch between stylistically diverse frames which are connected flawlessly, and it’s what Art Against Agony do the best.

“Tea for the Dragon” is another killer instrumental that melds spiraling, noisy free jazz and extreme metal. It starts off with a repetitive patern which gives it somewhat industrial vibe, but it doesn’t take long until it’s sent further into a jazz territory with math-rock inspired rhythm section. “Coffee for the Queen” is midtempo, crunchy, metallic rock tune — with killer drumkit work. It’s both heavy and laid-back, putting together pounding riffs and mellow soloing. “Saratov Incident” brings the EP to an end; it’s arguably the heaviest tune here. Shard-like drop-tuned guitar riffs add a jagged edge.

“Russian Tales” sounds like the band had a blast making it. The intensity and blackboard-scraping cacophony is all here, with a semblance of disjointed jazzy melody for balance. The EP is not only smartly conceived, Art Against Agony’s songwriting, arranging, playing, and production are also completely inspired. Get it from here.