Five is the second album THE AGONIST have released since Alissa White-Gluz left, and new singer Vicky Psarakis is beginning to make her mark. The Canadian metallers formed in 2004 and have been making a name for themselves, playing alongside EPICA, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, among others, and now are back again.
The album starts with The Moment where, during the first fifty seconds, listeners are treated to both singing and screaming from Vicky, alongside guitar riffs, giving an indication of what is to come. This song is one of the most screaming heavy, interchanged with clean choruses. It feels like the screams are a little too forced, however, with a desire to continue a legacy set in place by previous singer Alissa White-Gluz, rather than because it’s where Vicky’s talents lay.
Further down the track list you find The Game which jumps straight into action with a fast paced guitar riff, swiftly followed by powerful vocals which guide us through the song. Much of the album can be called grimy, however this track more than most with overlapping layers of vocals which focus on a rougher side of singing. A feature of the album would be the very prominent drum beat throughout, alongside grounding guitar riffs. The sound is changed up for The Raven Eyes with a gentle, melodic introduction and clean vocals, with slight growls, showcasing Vicky’s singing talent. The memorable lyrics “relax, it will all be over soon” will have you belting along.
The Wake is an instrumental piece with a gentle introduction, a pleasant change, which gets gradually more dramatic. An usual mix of piano and flutes, not something you’d expect to find on an album of this calibre, but it provides a respite whilst showcasing the bands other talents. All through the album are strong, melodic riffs, powerful lyrics, and an eerie atmosphere is built. This is never more true than in The Man Who Fell To Earth starts with a lengthy introduction that is carried by dramatic guitar riffs and rough singing. Overlapping guitars create an aurally pleasing tune which ebbs and flows along the vocal structure.
The bonus track, Take Me To Church, is a HOZIER cover, originally with a male vocalist, it is always interesting to hear a female version however THE AGONIST have really made the song their own. It was a good choice as it really fits with the grimy, rock and roll feel they’ve got going on with this album.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable album which leaves the listener singing along and hitting replay. Vicky’s talents certainly lie in memorable lyrics and a beautiful singing voice, only let down by her screams which will perhaps be dropped in future works as she becomes more comfortable and able to make the position her own. The tracks are easy to listen to and demonstrating several different aspects of the band. The album doesn’t seem as heavy as you’d expect from THE AGONIST, but all bands change, especially with a new singer in tow.
Five is set for release on September 30th via Napalm Records.
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