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Agent: Kingdom of Fear

New Zealand band break new ground on their second album.

It’s a brave band that relocates from New Zealand to the restless city of London. But in the five years it’s taken Agent to settle comfortably into the British way of life they’ve been working on Kingdom Of Fear.

Where their debut Expand/Contract was a typical nod to Tool, delivered with aggressive mannerisms, the follow up is soft and exploratory deviation from a tried and tested formula. Guitars politely glide along and glimmer without too much reference to the aforementioned alt-rockers, at the same time the layered vocals have an indie quality (think The Stone Roses).

Dark Dreams menaces slightly with touches of vocal antagonism cutting through, while Made of Gold’s sense of urgency echoes the progressive noises coming from Australian mobs like Karnivool. The same for Vultures, a Mastodon-esque hybrid of anarchy and hip-shaking groove which melts into those moreish vocals.

Agent bring together off-kilter rhythms, a grungey slow plod and sparing inflections of the east, and it’s a recipe that works well for them. If they can flesh out this blueprint even further on their next endeavour it’ll stand them in very good stead.