Protomartyr, “The Agent Intellect”

Protomartyr-2015-The_Agent_Intellect_cover_hi_resProtomartyr
The Agent Intellect
HARDLY ART
6/10

Protomartyr’s third album, The Agent Intellect, does a superb job evoking its title, the origin of which stems from a classical and medieval philosophy regarding the concept of active reasoning—it’s the conscious mental action of converting potential or passive thought into something human. In this way, the album’s noise and instrumentation act primarily as a stage—a sonic, kinetic backdrop for frontman Joe Casey to traverse with his preachy, ruminating trance-chant choruses. As exemplified on songs like “Pontiac 87,” “Uncle Mother’s’,” and single “Why Does It Shake?,” Protomartyr has built an album that is dry and harsh, and which lashes against  forces both internal and external, active and passive. The guitar—scene-building and jarred—pins against the focused, technical percussion and, together with Casey’s vocals, keeps The Agent Intellect brooding on a refreshing, deliberate sense of the non-abstract.

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