10 Tracks That Changed My Life By Alyn Hunter, Agrona

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Alyn Hunter is the guitarist of Welsh blackened metal band “Agrona” and new outfit “Tywyllwch”. Agrona are releasing their debut full length album via UKEM Records on May 25th.

Nirvana – “Scentless Apprentice” from “In Utero”

I guess everyone has a track or an album which started it all. “Scentless Apprentice” was the catalyst for me realising I prefered music in the heavier direction – thus leading to me teaching myself guitar and annoying all and sundry with terrible renditions of other Nirvana songs. A real game changer.

Motorhead – “Ace of Spades” from “Ace of Spades”

“The Young Ones” Season 2, Episode 1. I may not have been alive when it aired, but I was introduced at a young enough age that I was impressionable enough not to forget the best band to guest on the sitcom. Motorhead became my first live band to watch, and I’m sure Lemmy is still responsible for my chronic tinnitus.

Emperor – “In The Wordless Chamber” from “Prometheus – The Discipline Of Fire & Demise”

So where do you go from there on the path to heavy? I went to my local MVC and picked up Prometheus based purely on the album artwork. Conversion process complete. To me, Ihsahn has the musician’s midas touch. Prometheus may not be his most acclaimed output, but you say “Emperor” to me and the first thing my mind thinks of is this track, that riff, and those horns.

Opeth – “The Moor” from “Still Life”

My first Opeth track and still hands down my favourite. 100% my buy in into their material and ended up with me furiously absorbing their entire back catalogue in a fashion akin to the way Tetsuo Shima from Akira absorbs his surrounding environment. It’s a masterpiece, and still gives me aesthetic chills whenever I think about the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it live. They were one of the first bands who really struck me as doing something truly special, and Akerfeldt is most certainly an evil genius.

Leprous – “The Valley” from “Coal”

Currently my favourite live act and one I have some difficulty not gushing about whenever brought up conversation. I was a big fan of both “Tall Poppy Syndrome” and “Bilateral”, but this track in particular really encapsulated my favourite aspects of what was formly Ihsahn’s backing band. Soaring vocals that haunt and mesmerise in equal measure, technicality and catchiness balanced exceptionally well. They’ve never failed to impress me yet, and have a fantastic habit of bringing exceptional support acts to their headline shows like Orkenkjott and Blindead.

Sub Rosa – “The Usher” from “More Constant Than The Gods”

Cardiff used to have a burgeoning doom scene with fantastic touring acts visiting nearly every week. That’s what introduced me to the genre, and led to me spending a veritable age on youtube trying to satiate my thirst for misery in between gigs. This is what I always ended up coming back to. There’s something about distorted violins that ticks all the right boxes when you’re going through a nihilistic moment.

Iniquity – “The Bullets Breath” from “Grime”

The track that introduced me to death metal. I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to this just so I could try and get my head around it. The gutterals, the breakneck guitar chops, groove and savage drumming. A myspace discovery, I’m sure they triggered my audial wanderlust. Thanks myspace Tom.

SepticFlesh – “Lovecraft’s Death” from “Communion”

I was brought up with a classical background, playing the trumpet in orchestras and preferring bombastic film score material. Dimmu Borgir are typically first point of call for anyone who considers the merger of true symphony and extreme metal and like most I was introduced to them first. When I heard Septicflesh though I realised that they were setting the height of the bar. There’s something I can’t get over about how they marry intelligently written orchestral scoring and brutal yet memorable riffs together. The band Shade Empire came close with “Omega Arcane”, but SepticFlesh consistently impress.

Akhlys – “Breath and Levitation” from “The Dreaming I”

A more recent discovery, but I think I can credit this record for nearly single-handedly re-igniting my interest in black metal, and begin paying particular attention to the more underground bands – because that’s where the true gems are. They’ve got that atmospheric, unrelenting misery absolutely nailed.

Thaw – “Ancestors” from “Thaw”

Something that’s more of a recent discovery, Thaw play a bizarre blend of doom/sludge/black metal that smashes a lot my favourite elements from those respective genres together. There’s a lot of good bands coming out of Poland right now, and Thaw have given me more than enough food for thought now I’m writing for a second band (Tywyllwch) that has similar interests.

Agrona’s latest video “I Chose To Burn”

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