For something to be “ecstatic,” the feelings and emotions it evokes must transcend what we tend to experience most regularly in our lives. Ecstatic joy isn’t just happiness; it’s a feeling of jubilation which impacts us emotionally and in a metaphysical, arguably spiritual sense too.
Although it has long been associated with connotations of the dark and macabre, extreme music has the ability to be a powerful mode of expression for these feelings of absolute bliss, overwhelming love, and awe-inspiring sublimity. Extreme emotions no less and those which black metal quartet Agriculture evokes with its ecstatic subversion of the subgenre’s tropes.
On Agriculture’s self-titled record and first full-length LP, it’s abundantly clear that the band’s use of heavy music to showcase the most resplendent emotions and moments of the human experience has a far deeper meaning. Woven between the flurries of soaring tremolo picking, crescendoing guitar harmonies, celebratory screamed vocals, thoughtful improvisation, and meditative atmospheric passages is the record’s mission statement to experience the wonders and joys of both the esoteric and physical world.
These facets are showcased within Agriculture's first single and album opener, "Look Pt. 1," which premieres today as a lyric video.
What was initially a meeting and subsequent series of jam sessions between Kern Haug and Daniel Meyer, two musicians in the Los Angeles underground noise scene, would eventually manifest as a shared vision to portray the sublimity of the human experience through the vehicle of heavy music. Following the additions of veteran guitarist Richard Chowenhill and bassist/vocalist Leah Levinson to the band’s lineup, this idea would crystalize into the “ecstatic black metal” backbone of Agriculture’s music, first heard on the band’s 2022 debut EP, The Circle Chant.
The concepts and thematic questions previously planted by the band have blossomed into powerful, fully-realized artistic and philosophical statements on Agriculture. To put it in the band’s words, “...where 'The Circle Chant' is like a finger pointing at the moon, the self-titled LP is like a whole body screaming at it with reverence.”
Through the extreme splendor of ecstatic black metal and the improvisational, experimental, and cathartic elements it embodies, Agriculture illustrates these otherwise incomprehensible questions with a poignant beauty that makes its music as much of an artistic statement as it is a transcendental experience.
Agriculture will be available on physical and digital formats July 21st from The Flenser and is available for pre-order here.
See Agriculture on the road with labelmates Sprain and Drowse on their way to perform at this year's Oblivion Access festival in Austin, TX:
June 8 - Los Angeles, CA - Permanent Records Roadhouse
June 10 - Las Vegas, NV - The Usual Place
June 11 - Salt Lake City, UT - The International
June 12 - Denver, CO - The Hi-Dive
June 13 - Wichita, KS - The Wave
June 14 - Kansas City, MO - Farewell
June 15 - Oklahoma City, OK -The Sanctuary
June 16 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk for Oblivion Access