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'Kingdom Of Fear'
(Agent/Leadhenge Records)
Release Date: Out now

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus


What do you get when you cross some talented musicians from New Zealand, a pendant for arranging some ear-catching progressive Rock and an album title of 'Kingdom Of Fear'?

This isn't an abstract joke or anything; this is the opening of my review for the second album by these modern, emotionally-driven edgy rockers! If you've been reading certain areas of the rock music press, then you'll be feeling the excited buzz surrounding the sound and style of Argent already. On the other hand if you're scratching your scalp wondering what the fuss is about, read on.

With a tight production, 'Kingdom Of Fear' creeps to rigid guitars and solid drums whilst incorporating melancholic and haunted vocals. The first track I heard from this album was their single 'Made Of Gold' which doesn't really prepare you for the entire album. I was hooked on the vocals from James Donaldson who also plays guitar, and his ability to blend them with the backing vocals from Matt Flower. This is a real key to why 'Kingdom Of Fear' maintains a looming shadow over proceedings.

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The understated, yet highly infectious chorus to 'Wilt The Garden' really epitomises what Agent pull off with apparent consummate ease on this album. They don't elaborate unnecessarily or throw bombastic sounds unless it really fits their craft.

Tenderness rides high on a razors edge with compositions like the title track and 'Like You Never Left'. If you can imagine Tool being made of glass, brittle and fragile to the touch on crisp, still, icy cold mornings; then you're getting the picture of what Agent have achieved here.

'Vondelpark' embraces the role of being the longest track within the walls of the 'Kingdom of Fear'. Starting off with a long face, it then builds with a guitar riff that seems tied and bound in a metal cage. As 'Vondelpark' stretches out, it inevitably takes the listener on a journey that builds with complexity. I've got to say that when I noticed that they state their influences include Dire Straits and Guns N'Roses, all it goes to prove is that when a band displays their influences it's more of a curiosity than a guide. 'Kingdom Of Fear' is a progressive album which requires a little time to settle, but the wait is worth it.

'Dark Dreams' is a highlight with its yearning to break the turmoil that lurks beneath the surface; 'Vultures' starts out like the Red Hot Chili Peppers around their 'Mother's Milk' era until an explosion of the Agent sound snaps you out of this misconception. Looking over the track list, it would be fair to say that out of the 13 songs here you only get nine proper songs.

Due to this being a Progressive beast, you get those moments which fit the complete picture like one minute or so atmospheric-driven pieces which are acceptable. If Agent were powering up their AC/DC riffs or hitting us between the eyes with some bludgeoning Pantera style punishment then these brief moments wouldn't be that welcome.

If you're looking for something darker, but gentle with it, then 'Kingdom of Fear' comes across with repeated listens like a solid gathering of musical ideas and expression. 'Kingdom Of Fear' might be a great companion when you're in the mood for some subtle contemplation whilst looking out the window at the onslaught of winter.

Listening to this album was a real pleasure and now I have the ominous task of adding it to my growing list of good albums that saw the light of day during 2013.

Dark Dreams
Collecting Scars
Made Of Gold
Wilt The Garden
Kingdom Of Fear
Like You Never Left
Lost In Transience





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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