It should come as no surprise that Angels And Agony sound similar to VNV Nation, given that Ronan Harris produced their first album. Their newest full-length continues that sound. It’s a blend of trance, pop, and EBM with thick layers of warping analog loops, electronic melodies, and dramatic vocals. Unlike Harris, however, Angels And Agony lead singer and programmer Reinier Kahle is aware of his own vocal limitations, and instead of trying to sing beyond his range he uses other techniques to create an emotional impact. On “Civilization,” for example, he sings in a mechanical monotone over hard-hitting techno for a more old-school effect, while extra layers and echoes on the vocal track create a fuller sound on the more atmospheric “Restoration.” This album also features some unapologetically pop music moments; on “Karma,” for example, Kahle whispers and croons over sampled sitars like a Buddhist Richard Butler. While the faster pieces are bound to garner club play in gothic and industrial clubs worldwide, it’s the slower pieces on this album that make the most impact. “Destination” is grandiose and melancholic without getting too syrupy with its electronic strings and harp sounds, while the ambient tones and sampled Chinese voice on “Insight” and “Experience” make for memorable instrumental excursions. Angels And Agony may have a sound that caters to fans of more established dance acts, but this album’s exquisite production and craftsmanship reveals a group with real talent to offer.
Visit the band’s official website at www.angelsandagony.com
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