ARTIST: Angels and Agony
LABEL: Metropolis Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
I'm not much of a fan of digital releases; without a case and a set of liner notes, they seem so ephemeral, and that's not even taking into account the fact that if your hard drive goes out, you've lost your music collection. In this particular case, though, I recommend that Angels and Agony fans go for the digital version of this album—back it up on CD-R right away, if you're paranoid like me—in order to pick up the bonus remix tracks. This is one of those rare occasions when the remix disc actually exceeds the original. The album itself is solid enough, with plenty of pop and trance-flavored European-style EBM in the vein of Covenant and classic Apoptygma Berzerk, and even reaches greatness in a few points, with the backing vocal production on "Watchers" and "Wreckage" standing out as particular favorites. The remixes, though, go all over the place, and manage to interpret the songs in intriguing new ways. Diorama's Torben Wendt gives "Wreckage" an entirely different feel, replacing the piano and synth leads of the original with mournful synths and ethereal twinkling, while Darren Huss of Psyche goes so far as to add his own vocals on his mix of "Traveler," which turns the upbeat club track of the original into a sorrowful ballad. Even Angels and Agony themselves get in on the fun with their "Quiet Mix" of "Wreckage," which is built almost entirely around the piano line of the original version and turns it from soaring but melancholy synthpop into a stripped and haunting hymn. The original stuff is great if you're a DJ, I suppose, but it's the quieter moments that really bring out Angels and Agony's talent, and it's these often unconventional remixes that bring those quiet places out from under the oppression of the dance beat. That makes the special edition worth the price of the download, liner notes or not.
Visit the band online at www.angelsandagony.com for more information.
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