"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Noisem - "Agony Defined" (CD)

Noisem - "Agony Defined" CD cover image

"Agony Defined" track listing:

1. Voices in the Morgue (3:23)
2. Birthing the Bestial (3:16)
3. Desire and Disgust (1:17)
4. Mortuary (2:58)
5. Rotten Remains (2:54)
6. Severed (1:59)
7. Split from the Inside Out (3:36)
8. Chronic Dementia (2:59)
9. Agony Defined (3:24)

Reviewed by on June 28, 2013

"Noisem seems concerned with songs that’ll get crowds moving and head banging (with the occasional busted lip or head)."

Very few albums this year have had the power to kick the listener in the face like Noisem’s debut “Agony Defined” does. Originally released last year when the band was known as Necropsy, “Agony Defined” is unrelenting in its pursuit of deathly thrash metal. There is hardly a moment wasted on this release, as the band keeps the album to 25 minutes. Any longer, and a sense of familiarity would have dragged the music down. Noisem is in-tune to the wicked and momentous sense of danger that has been missing from thrash recently.

This danger comes from a place of youth, as the members of Noisem are not even legal enough to grab a beer (in the U.S., at least). An astute listener can always get a sense of the heart-stopping energy that can only come from young, determined musicians. These guys don’t care about impressing someone with ambience or quick deviations from their sound to display songwriting depth. Noisem seems concerned with songs that’ll get crowds moving and head banging (with the occasional busted lip or head).

“Voices in the Morgue” is a seismic opener that signifies Noisem’s stance on kicking up a storm of noise. It isn’t pretty, but the band encapsulates the best qualities of thrash and death mingling together into this one song. The tempo never falters, and the guitar solos are a glorious mess. Even with the band’s mission of brevity, guitarists Sebastian Phillips and Travis Stone get some air space to go off on their instruments. The last two minutes of “Birthing the Bestial” is a high mark for the chemistry and back-and-forth style of both musicians.

It takes until “Mortuary” for Noisem to bring together anything resembling melody, with a killer groove that is, of course, overlapped by the thrash in short time. “Severed” expands upon this in far greater abundance, with a slower pace that is warranted after the headstrong nature of the other songs. Noisem tries out adding a minute amount of catchiness into their choruses, with “Split from the Inside Out” finding its mark from the get-go. By the time the title track spills out, there’s a good chance the listener will need to sit back and take a few deep breaths to get back the oxygen that was punched out of them by “Agony Defined.”

Noisem is well aware of what they are doing with their sharp metal, and aren’t looking to win over a fan base with thought-provoking content. This album is for those who like to let loose in the pits or need that extra encouragement to get through rush hour when stuck in traffic and hating all the commuters around you. “Agony Defined” is a vicious good time that should be given consideration by those demanding speed and violence in their thrash metal.

Highs: Ballsy thrash metal, band doesn't screw around with its powerhouse sound, solos match the music's reckless tone

Lows: A few more mid-tempo moments like on "Severed" would have been a nice addition

Bottom line: Noisem is a thrash metal band to keep an eye on, as their debut album "Agony Defined" is a beastly delight.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)