REVIEW: THE AGONIST – “Orphans”
Canadian extreme metal export ‘The Agonist’ have returned with a brand-new album which they claim is more extreme, more melodic, more exciting and simply larger than life! These extreme metal juggernauts have in the past released some masterpieces and comprise a monstrous sound feeding off melodic death metal and metalcore among other extreme elements.
Hailing from Quebec, Canada, the five-piece metal act comprises of guitarists Danny Marino & Pascal “Paco” Jobin, Bassist Chris Kells, Simon Mckay behind the drumkit and front-woman Vicky Psarakis leading the pact. Let’s get into their latest installment: – ‘Orphans’.
Artwork doesn’t say much about this album. It’s a straight-forward band logo in a foggy background, however, fans have been given a taste of what this record is supposed to sound like. Opening track ‘In Vertigo’ and closing track ‘Burn it all down’ have already been released on Youtube and received with positive feedback. These tracks are absolute bangers from the get-go and are relentlessly high octane. Vicky showcases her impressive vocal range covering everything from rock-diva all the way to some sick death metal growls that would make even the devil quiver in his boots.
While most of the songs on this album have a very typical Agonist feel and sound to them, a few of them take a more symphonic and dramatic approach like ‘Mr. Cold’. ‘As one we survive’ starts off along technical death lines but slowly evolves melody with some nice catchy chorus bits. Plenty of positive messaging in the lyrical content too. Almost like a light at the end of a dark tunnel, this can also be felt in songs like ‘The Gift of silence’. The group as also experimented with some folklore which sounds absolutely mesmerizing in ‘Blood as my guide’, it is also my personal favorite song on the record. Vicky vocals in this one are absolutely haunting.
On the whole ‘Orphans’ is an album is to be reckoned with for album of the year. The guitar lines are melodic, drumming is fast and the result is a flickering, iridescent and varied set of great tunes nestled between sheer brutality and melodic frailty.
While metal has been going through a pleasantly welcomed uprise of female front-woman, Vicky Psarakis changes the game by throwing gender out of the window. Not only does she reign supreme among the queens, but she gives plenty of them kings a hard run for their money, even putting some to shame. Her voice is so strong she simply elevates the experience making you feel almost god-like. The instruments also work very well together giving each other space yet having a full sound. song structure and patterns reflect some of the next generation metal that has become synonymous in new albums, yet it sounds unapologetically signature Agonist. It’s safe to say this is probably their best album yet.
‘Orphans’ is a flickering, iridescent and varied set of great tunes nestled between sheer brutality and melodic frailty, and probably their best album yet.