Albums of the Year 2015: #9 Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect


2015 was a good year for post-punk. Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect is the second of a trifecta of fantastic albums in the genre that made it onto my top 20 list, and it’s probably the angriest of the three. The guitars on this record are distorted and razor-sharp, played with a ferocity throughout to match the loud, pummelling drums that underpin the music. And the vocals are delivered with a glassy-eyed apathy in a deep, sinister baritone that makes this a seriously atmospheric album.

It’s also a fucking loud album: the production brings the drums and the bass high up in the mix to make each of these 12 tracks feel incredibly turbulent, and you can’t help but get swept along the destructive path that tracks like ‘The Devil in His Youth’ and ‘The Hermit’ blaze through the desolate landscape of the album. Other highlights include the epic 6 minute ‘Ellen’ and the all too brief closing track ‘Feast of Stephen’, which has some of my favourite vocals on the album – deep, low pitch and just completely drained of energy and melody, as if the album that preceded them had completely defeated the singer. And all thats left is a frustrated, chemical lullaby:

Then get stoned until I fall asleep…

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