The latest album from the Manchester-based Agvirre — titled simply Silence — packs spectacularly amplified, crushing emotional tension. After a brief opening track that hovers through ominous tones, they immediately launch into blast beat and manically lashing guitar riff-driven mayhem when the next track opens that’s so physically intense it can’t help but feel like an also emotionally crushing rockslide. Listening feels a bit like getting thrown into some kind of purifying fire. The album packs a volatile mixture of pain and ecstatic despondence.
When the blast beat attacks do somewhat let up, elements like passionate violin performances and ominously off-kilter choral singing keep the gripping drama dialed up. After a brief foray on track two into emotionally destabilizing, ominous keys that ring out through the haze, Agvirre reveal something really special when they launch into emotionally-twisted sounding violin performances packed in right alongside grueling guitar freak-outs. It’s a spectacular drama; these additional elements beyond the most traditional band setup provide a new vantage point for the transformation of this physical mayhem into a reflection of emotional trauma and its aftereffects.
On the third track, titled “Abandonment,” Agvirre dial back only a bit, delivering fewer blast beats and more chances for those other elements to shine, including the violin. After the violin’s contributions turn from folksy-sounding, close-to-the-chest tension into more regally dramatic, orchestral bursts, the band roll out a surging dramatic push towards the final crescendo, which features startling clean singing and gentler letdowns.
The lyrics quite memorably reflect the band’s musically apparent attention to somehow finding intimate, personal moments exemplified by elements like that violin in the midst of the wildest (sonic) storms. On the second track, titled “Muzzle & Mask,” the speaker admits that “strangling, isolating silence… knows my name,” but they eventually proclaim: “You are not alone!” The band use that phrase as a tagline outside of the lyrics too, and it would be difficult to overstate how much their sound feels perfectly suited to the fullness of that sentiment.
The songs veer through a confrontation with wildly over-the-top tension, as if the listener has been plopped down on a beach to peer at a huge storm that’s approaching. There are neither any easy answers nor any particularly chilled out moments on this album, but a thrilling ride awaits.
Check out the music below! Trepanation Recordings and Surviving Sounds both participated in the release.