Extreme metal often embodies the bleakest aspects of existence, but for Los Angeles-based ecstatic black metal quartet Agriculture, blast beats and howling shrieks evoke joyful profundity.
After meeting at an underground noise show in downtown Los Angeles -- another scene known for its usually cynical perspective -- Kern Haug and Dan Meyer began collaborating, using heavy music to portray overwhelming sublimity rather than crushing darkness. Quickly expanding their personnel, veteran guitarist Richard Chowenhill and bassist/songwriter Leah Levinson now round out the lineup as the band reaches for recursive themes of greater meaning.
Together, Agriculture approach their music from a mixed background of improvisation, unconventional composition, and heavy experimentalism, all with the intention of expressing ecstatic emotion. As heard on their EP, The Circle Chant, the band transcends the usual frigid textures of black metal through rich harmonies, with Levinson joining Meyer on vocals to share surprisingly warm screams over Agriculture’s intense but celebratory instrumentals.
At the heart of it all, Agriculture is after a deep communion with the natural world, their own bodies, and the people around them, staving off the near-constant threat of alienation with their sound.
See Agriculture perform at this year's Oblivion Access festival in Austin alongside label mates Have A Nice Life, Chat Pile, Planning for Burial, Mamaleek, Bosse-de-Nage, Drowse, Sprain, and Ragana for a special Flenser showcase.
Artist photo by Milan Aguirre