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Preview: Agrimonia

Noah Bonaparte Pais listens to some Scandinavian black metal



Three-and-a-half minutes into Agrimonia's third LP, Rites of Separation (Southern Lord), vocalist Christina (no known surname, and let's please not call her a singer) does this thing with her throat that you won't be able to get out of your head. The tempo on "Talion" just changed for the third time — hurtled is more like it, scared into a sprint by this taloned fire-breather — and, in fine black-metal fashion, everything but the encircling lead guitars and pit-of-hell drums has suddenly dropped out. Then, and only then, comes the noise: It's like Lucifer trying to hock a loogie, unsuccessfully. Rites of Separation contains five songs that dissect 60 minutes between them, and the only intelligible words Christina says on it are the three in the title (they lead off track four, "The Battle Fought"). This matters not. Her toneless, sexless voice is, at times, the snake moved to action by these long-winded but never overstayed welcomes; on others, it's the sadistic charmer, scattering a path of black petals for her slaying players (members of melody-driven crust/metal heavies At the Gates, Skitsystem and Martyrdod, each of which hails from Agrimonia's native Gothenburg, Sweden) to crush and crunch underfoot. On quarter-hour closer "Awaiting," she torments the middle 10 minutes but swaddles the rest in a foreboding industrial intro and gorgeous acoustic coda, ice cream and cartoons after the horror story. T.O.A.D., Sumerian and Diab open. Tickets $8 in advance, $10 at the door. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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