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, a native of Boise, Idaho.
AbD began in early 2013 as a solo project, with Brammer recording and streaming several demo songs (including the early versions of "Away", "Careless", "Sleep", "Suffocate", and "Ache and Agony (A Song for the Sleepless"). The project then sat dormant for nearly a year with Brammer focusing on other bands; however, Brammer finally released the EP/Demo The End of Hope on August 22, 2014. It was primarily a melodic deathcore/melodic death metal release. Due to personal and financial difficulties, however, Agony by Default entered a nearly 2-year hiatus.
AbD returned at the end of 2016 with a new song titled "Regrets" and announced plans for a debut full-length.
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 death metal roots. While still retaining a few deathcore elements, the album was predominantly a melodic death metal release in the vein of Kataklysm, Vehemence, etc.. It was also the first release to utilize 8-string guitars. 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. Brammer described it as a unique blend of old school, traditional American melodeath (similar to the debut album Genocide For Survival) and heavy Gothenberg undertones.
After a short hiatus, Agony By Default returned in January 2020 with For All The Rest Of Time. The album marks a return towards the melodic black metal found on Catastrophes of the Mind and Chaos and Cataclysm.
Brammer currently handles all vocals, instrumentation, and writing for Agony By Default. All of AbD's material to date has been written, recorded, and produced in Laramie, Wyoming, at Brammer's home studio, with assistance from various longtime co-engineers and producers such as Johnny Dove of everdying and Travis Kolbo of Catervatim.