As The World Dies – Agonist (Transcending Obscurity Records)

According to Memoriam vocalist Karl Willetts, Scott Fairfax has a “million dollar riff vault”. And by Christ, Willett’s bandmate has well and truly plundered it for As The World Dies’ debut.

Fairfax, plus members of Notts crew Pemphigoid, have torn into the Earth’s crust with Agonist.

Joined by Willetts, Benediction frontman David Ingram and Massacre’s Kam Lee, they’ve deftly melded Bolt Thrower’s churning attack to expansive, 21st century death metal.

The effect is enthralling.

And while there are echoes of Fairfax’s blistering work with Memoriam (check out the arcing fretwork of Until You’ve Bled and Save The Earth), this doesn’t feel like a mere jam sesh offshoot from the guitarist’s day job.

Far from it, in fact.

For Agonist is underscored by top tier songcraft, and singer Jay Price more than holds his own among illustrious company. He stamps his authority all over the record.

As The World Dies have arrived as a fully-formed, premium quality DM unit. They’re not fucking about.

Exploring Agonist

There’s a real ebb and flow to the album.

It’s atmospheric and at times, cinematic. But total devastation is never far away.

The quintet’s grasp of extreme metal dynamics is startling.  

Red Death drips with the tears of a burning biosphere; it’s a track of high drama and deep foreboding.

Desolate is a blazing charge into the abyss, with its vision of hell framed by charred riffery.

Day Of Reckoning, elevated by some sublime synths, is an intriguing demonstration of As The World Dies’ ambition.

As for Dawn Of Terror? Well it pretty much does what it says on the tin, thundering into life with a bone-shuddering kick drum barrage, courtesy of Chris McGrath.

And these are just a few of the highlights.

We’re just hoping that Fairfax has something left in that vault for the next Memoriam album…

Enjoyed reading this? Then check out our Best Death Metal Albums of 2021.