Dayton, Ohio has produced quite an array of important and influential artists and bands over the years, spanning a broad spectrum of music genres. Some of the notable ones include funk/R&B greats The Ohio Players & Lakeside, rocker Rick Derringer, hip-hop band Zapp, dance-pop singer CeCe Peniston, alt-rock band Guided By Voices, pop-punk band Hawthorne Heights, and metalcore bands Twelve Tribes and Devil Wears Prada. Now let me introduce another band to rise from the Dayton music scene: rock metal band Agony In The Garden.
As they explain in their bio, Agony in the Garden’s music “honors those who would challenge the sun. Though our overture reflects the eternal dream, the sleeper has awakened. As we bore witness to this paradox the logic is ill refute.” Their music style fuses rock, metal and blues to create a powerful wall of sound that grabs hold of and engulfs the listener in a realm of blazing guitars, massive synth chords and sharp percussion. Their poetic song lyrics are always compelling and socially relevant.
Agony In The Garden started out as a concept band, with singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mack Perry as the solo artist writing and recording all the music. He released a debut four-song EP Where Olympus Dwells in May 2015, receiving critical acclaim and earning a growing legion of fans. Drummer Bobby Milton and guitarist Michael Greer joined the band in July 2016, and they are now working on a new album tentatively named Second Light, and set for release in Fall 2016.
The first single to be released is “Obsolete,” a sonically hard-hitting metal rock tune that dazes the senses. The song opens with a delicate, crystalline guitar solo, then erupts into a rich stew of snarling, swirling guitars, and pummeling bass. Assertive drums keep the hard-driving beat moving forward, but never overpower the phenomenal heavily-textured guitars and Perry’s raw, impassioned vocals. Finally, demons expunged and both singer and listener spent, the song closes with a repeat of the gentle guitar riff.
The powerful lyrics speak to the sins of mankind and his impermanence on this earth. The end will come for us all as we cast away our demons (sins), breaking free of our physical selves and ascend to an afterlife. “Burning flames will shatter/in a world made of stone. Hear the dying children’s laughter/in a hell so new it’s old. Darkened sacred waters/Go on and fill them with your name. You can rise above the wreckage/go on and rise above your mortal chains. Throw your demon into the sun, ’til it’s done. Throw your demon, one by one into the sun.”
For a background reference of the band’s music, here’s the video for their excellent 2015 single “Where Olympus Dwells.” It’s a provocative commentary on poverty and homelessness that intertwines beautiful scenery with startling images of the homeless and disasters – both natural and political – that contribute to the homeless epidemic. The song has been chosen to be featured on the soundtrack of the new Ugandan Action Cinema film Precision: The Child Drug Trafficking.
I must make note that, from our conversations by e-mail and Twitter messaging, Mack Perry is one of the most gracious and respectful musicians I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with. So support his band by checking out their website and following on Twitter and Facebook. Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on itunes, Amazon and other online music sites.