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AGENT FRESCO ‘Destrier’ (Long Branch Records / SPV) This Icelandic quartet take progressive rock to a whole new realm. Forming just weeks before they entered a Battle of the Bands contest in their homeland the quirky bunch not only won the thing but also received several accolades for the individual band members. ‘Destrier’ opens with “Let Them See Us” and just over a full minute of monotonic noise which gets more than a bit irksome as it goes along for just over a minute before launching into an atmospheric and moody piece that sets you a bit more at ease with things, until “Dark Water” kicks in with more of an alt rock sound to it that revolves around a simplistic but

XO STEREO ‘The Struggle’ (Another Century)

captivating piano piece. The album’s title track is a bit more of a melodic prog rock piece that for once doesn’t seem to have a hundred things going on in the background, while “Wait For Me” is beautifully constructed with hooks aplenty. “Angst” starts out as a trippy experimental track before becoming the bombastic industrial monster that it winds up being. “Death Rattle” and “Mono No Aware” are both ambient pieces of cinematic euphoria awash in synths galore. The beautiful thing about Agent Fresco is that, while they’re diverse in their writing and explore the full gamut of the prog rock genre, they still have an identifying mark about their music so that there is no mistaking who you’re listening to. They do bring in bits of Karnivool, a touch of Nine Inch Nails at times and even bits of Col dplay and Keane but it’s instantly recognizable as their own sound. -Vince Newman

The Hollowed, respectively, XO Stereo is a punk fueled power pop band from Los Angeles who happen to know their way around a hook and a melody. Infectious and exhilarating at once, every track on ‘The Struggle’ is a masterclass in pop songwriting, each with it’s own identity. From the frantic opener, “Show and Tell” to “This Disease” and “Hatchet,” which take you back to the late 90’s mall punk glory days. Title track, “The Struggle” is a bass driven monster of a song and lastly, the band takes a banal, humdrum song (viz Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel”) and turns in a powerful, glorious rendition of the song, rendering it nearly unrecognizable, aside from the chorus. Simply put, get your asses back in the studio boys and knock out about 25 or 30 more songs stat.

The only things that sucks about this record is that it’s not nearly long enough. Clocking in at five songs and just around 20 minutes in length, ‘The Struggle’ is about half as long as it should be. Featuring Justin Whitesel, Jon Weisberg and Cooper Campbell from LoveHateHero, From First to Last and -Tim Welch 66 | Hard Attack Magazine www.hardattackmag.com

Hard Attack November 2015 Vol 2 Issue 2  

Brand new Hard Attack with Interviews with Michael Monroe, Queensryche's Todd La Torre, Davy Vain, Bill Ward, Butcher Babies, Marky Ramone,...

Hard Attack November 2015 Vol 2 Issue 2  

Brand new Hard Attack with Interviews with Michael Monroe, Queensryche's Todd La Torre, Davy Vain, Bill Ward, Butcher Babies, Marky Ramone,...

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