Agony by Default is an extreme metal project based in Laramie, Wyoming, USA. It is one of many studio projects from multi-instrumentalist Matthew "Axl" Brammer.
AbD began in early 2013 as a solo project, with Brammer recording and streaming several demo songs...which later became The End of Hope demo/EP, released on August 22, 2014. The project originally began as a raw melodic deathcore/melodic death metal outfit. After sitting dormant for nearly two years, late 2016 a new song titled "Regrets" was released.
Genocide For Survival, the first full-length LP from Agony By Default, was released in February 2017, and marked a shift back to Brammer's more traditional melodic death metal roots in the vein of Kataklysm, Vehemence, etc. The album is generally considered the "true" beginning of Agony By Default. The Timekeeper EP was a rapid followup to Genocide for Survival, released in April 2017. The EP was a straightforward mixture of brutal and melodic death metal, with exotic melodies and moods similar to some Nile and Behemoth.
The second full-length album, titled Catastrophes of the Mind, was released on December 22, 2017, and has been described as a shift towards blackened and symphonic death metal. A split album with fellow Laramie, Wyoming brutal death/deathcore band Catervatim, titled Chaos and Cataclysm, was released on April 6th, 2018. The three Agony By Default songs appearing on the split mirror the blackened/melodic death metal style on Catastrophes of the Mind, and are largely a continuation of that album in both style and lyrical content.
Agony By Default released its third full-length album, Refleksjoner, on October 12th, 2018. It was a momentary shift back to a unique blend of old school, traditional American melodeath (similar to the debut album Genocide For Survival).
After a short hiatus, Agony By Default returned in January 2020 with For All The Rest Of Time, an aggressive melodic black metal/blackened death metal album that brought the blackened elements of some previous albums to the forefront.
The fourth album, A Serenade For Eternity, was released December 1st, 2021 and is already widely regarded as the strongest and best work from AbD to date. The album further entrenched itself in the melodic black metal that the previous album turned to, but heavy doses of symphonic elements and acoustic passages were mixed in as well. Additionally, unlike previous albums (which were entirely self-produced), the album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Johnny Dove of Voice of the Soul Studios in Downers Grove, IL, USA...resulting in a much more impactful and captivating sound. Dove also contributed heavily to the orchestral arrangements.
Brammer currently handles all vocals, instrumentation, and writing for Agony By Default.