Agincourt | Angels Of Mons

by Joe Mis
Staff Writer —

If you miss the glory days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, you’ll be in for a treat if you grab a copy of the debut full length release Angels of Mons from the UK’s Agincourt. This long time quartet (together since 1991) is out to prove that old school still rules and they make a compelling argument.

After a promising start and the release of 2 EPs, Agincourt ran headlong into the rise of grunge / alternative and like so many fellow hard and heavy acts they were forced to disband as the music world changed out from under them. In the latter part of the 2000s, Agincourt was revived by 3 of its original members, and after a few personnel changes the band now consists of original vocalist / guitarist Richard E. Toy, original bassist Russ Weaver and new members Paul Anderson (guitars) and Steve Riley (drums). They hit the studio in 2009, and released Angels Of Mons earlier this year. Rather than trying to create a new sound Agincourt has put together a classic metal CD that could have hit in the late 80s or early 90s, but they’ve recorded it with modern techniques and equipment.

The music on the whole is classic metal, filled with big hooks and catchy riffs. Richard E. Toy’s voice is solid and clear, and his guitars are very good as well. He plays well off of fellow guitarist Paul Anderson, and they combine to lay down some melodic rhythm lines and excellent solos. Russ Weaver and Steve Riley make a capable bottom end, neither one being too flashy and both handling the 80s sound flawlessly. The songs are well written numbers, fairly standard metal tracks. They are all melodic, well executed and well recorded, allowing each player to have his time in forefront. The only thing Agincourt needs to complete their repertoire is strong backing vocals. At times the song seems to call for a big growling chorus and all you get is Richard Toy’s higher range voice (although very neatly double tracked and self-harmonizing). Some of the songs do sound a bit dated by today’s standards, but considering the age of the band it is quite appropriate.

Musical highlights include: the great riffs, catchy chorus and superb vocals on “Edge of Paradise;” the hot guitar solos and great bass and drum teamwork on “Going Insane;” the totally upbeat groove of “Breakdown;” the slick intro, chugging rhythm line and blistering guitars on “Come With Me;” the entire power-ballad masterpiece of “This Life” – easily the finest track on the release; the nice guitar harmonies and old-school feel of “Queen Of The Night;” and the gritty tone and punchy chorus of the title track “Agincourt.”

Any fan of the NWOBHM or old school metal will enjoy this release. While there is nothing here that pushes the envelope, Agincourt’s Angels Of Mons is a pleasant journey down memory lane, a real “blast from the past” for children of the ’80s. Since the album is well produced, it will also appeal to fans of modern melodic metal or guitar rock and may inspire them to look deeper into the past to explore the roots of modern rock.

Good things come to those who wait, and after two decades Agincourt should finally earn the recognition they deserve. Good music, excellent musicianship and top-notch performances make Angels Of Mons highly recommended.

Genre: Heavy Metal

Richard E. Toy (vocals, guitar)
Paul Anderson (guitar)
Russ Weaver (bass)
Steve Riley (drums)

Track Listing:
1. Edge of Paradise
2. Going Insane
3. Captured King
4. Breakdown
5. Come with Me
6. This Life
7. Fool No More
8. Queen of the Night
9. Promised Land
10. Agincourt

Label: Independent


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10