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The Agony Scene: A Report from The Summer Slaughter Tour in Los Angeles

Michael Williams of The Agony Scene

The Agony Scene: A Report from The Summer Slaughter Tour in Los Angeles

The Summer Slaughter Tour blasted its way into the Los Angeles area, making a stop at The Novo Theater for a superbly heavy adventure in sight and sound.  Headlined by the likes of Between The Buried And Me, Born Of Osiris and Veil Of Maya, right smack in middle of the multi-band touring package was The Agony Scene!  Hitting the road for the first time in over a decade, The Agony Scene is touring in support of their latest magnum opus entitled Tormentor, unleashed through Outerloop Records.  Right before their earth shattering set at The Novo, we caught up with vocalist Michael Williams of The Agony Scene to discuss their participation on Summer Slaughter, a few of the songs from their Tormentor manifesto, the ever-present Christian band inquiry, advice for musicians seeking a record label (they’ve been on four!), and many other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in The Agony Scene
My name is Michael Williams and I’m the vocalist of The Agony Scene.

How has the Summer Slaughter Tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been great man. It’s our first tour in 11 years, so we’re all just happy to be back out on the road getting to see all of our favorite places that we played at back in the day again. Seeing new faces and old faces has been a pretty remarkable experience so far. And we’re in the middle of a pretty amazing lineup, so it’s been great. And we’ve been having a lot of fun.

For you personally, what has it been like to get back on the road again? It has been a while and touring may have been part of the reason the band broke up to begin with…
Yeah, we’ve all been working for the last ten years at whatever jobs. That life gets a little monotonous, so it kind of feels like vacation right now. It’s the first of many, because we’re not clocking in 9 to 5 everyday, so that’s been cool. You get reminded of all the good stuff and all the bad stuff simultaneously. It’s like “Oh, yeah, we’re sleeping in a parking lot tonight!” But you know, I’m in Los Angeles playing a show with my friends, so there’s an even flow to the whole thing. It’s great, but it also sucks. It’s great more than it sucks most of the time, so it’s been good.

What could one expect from a live The Agony Scene show in 2018?
A good mix of new and old songs. We are supporting a new album, so we do need to play the newer stuff. We try to pick some stuff from the older albums, where if you’re coming to see us and have been a fan before, we’re trying to make everyone happy. So yeah, it’s a good mix of old and new. And we all look much older – and that’s about it.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the title of the album Tormentor?
Our guitarist Chris Emmons came up with the title while we were in the early stages of writing. We just felt it was a very strong title. It’s sort of nine different interpretations of what that word means – so a lot of it has some religious connotations to it – or just general human experience connotations to it. Every song was inspired by that word in a different way. It’s not a concept album but there’s a through-line of like these are all the variations of that term that we could come up with and write to. Every song is about different stuff, and it leads back to that general theme – Tormentor – a sort of jealous or angry God – or maybe a former romantic interest – different things going in different ways. It bridges a lot gaps. There’s my experience of losing a close family member to cancer. It’s a lot of different stuff – there’s no easy answer to what it’s about.

Let’s talk about a few of the songs from Tormentor. Your latest video is from the song The Ascent And Decline. Let’s talk about that one…
Not to get political, its kind of the idea of giving up or sort of compromising your core beliefs for what you believe is a greater good. And that kind of being taking the wind out of the sails where you don’t have solid ground to stand on because you’ve turned a blind eye to certain things in a social or political way, because you want to further your political sights and agenda. And the end of it is sort of a call and response to the idea of like, if this is the most vocal religious right stance on certain things, then I’d rather be not counted among the ranks if Revelation comes. So that’s sort of what it’s about.

Let’s talk about The Submissive.
There’s a lot of songs around religion. The Submissive is about the misuse of authority in church – like a person of power or authority misusing their influence to do nefarious stuff if you will – to either illicit money or force things out of people out of a pressur