Agony By Default is a solo project by US-based musician Matthew Brammer. He initiated the project back in 2013, and released an EP back then. Afterwards, Agony By Default underwent some hiatus, until resurfacing in 2017 – a year that was marked by great productivity: Matthew Brammer released one EP and two full-lengths, the second of which is entitled Catastrophes Of The Mind. Let’s give it a go!
After the instrumental, somber and mellow piano intro Premonition, things pick up very rapidly with Mistress Of Agony. This song kicks off with a dark metal intro, spiked with high-pitched screams, and then turns towards a blend between brutal and melodic death metal. Around the middle and especially towards the end, piano tunes add a touch of symphonic metal as well – all in all a perfect track for the darker winter days! Your Gods Still Bleed can be divided into two parts as well: the first half being more brutal and tipping its head towards old-school death metal bands, while the second half is again more melodeath. Less variation is perceivable on Eternity Stares At Me, a classic death metal track, before we can enjoy a perfect mix between brutal death metal and melodic passages on I Am God, And This Is My Grave. The Darkness Within is another purely instrumental track and lets you breathe through before the last two tracks of the record, You Believe In A Lie and Plague, hit you. You Believe In A Lie has a darker note to it than any tracks before, but comes with the same brutal aggressiveness. Plague, the final track, is quite alike its precursor, but ends off with a melodic piano solo that connects well with Premonition, and guarantees a nice round-up of the album.
In conclusion: Agony By Default, a.k.a. Matthew Brammer, has definitely found his style and combines it in an interesting blend between brutal, melodic and symphonic metal, with some splashes of dark metal here and there as well. My personal favorite is I Am God, And This Is My Grave, but the entire record come highly recommended, especially to fans of any of those genres, and let’s hope that 2018 will be another productive year for Agony By Default! 9.5/10.