The Agonist
Prisoners


4.0
excellent

Review

by My1mmortal USER (7 Reviews)
June 7th, 2012 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Talent begins to find direction.

The release of this album has at the very least solidified one thing; this band doesn't deserve half of the crap they have thrown at them. Yes, their first album was awful. Yes, 'Thank You, Pain' is a terrible song, but if you judge an entire band on one crappy single then you need to open your mind a little.

Prisoners is an incredibly solid album throughout. Everyone in the band (and I mean EVERYONE) has upped their game on this release. The drumming is tight and interesting, holding songs together even at their most wild and frantic moments. New guitarist Paco provides a new element to the band's music; technical shredding, solos and harmonic leads over Danny Marino's natural climbing riffs. Hell, the bass is at least slightly more audible than on the last album.

And then, of course, we reach Alissa. The band's attractive frontwoman and vocal powerhouse shines as ever here. Her growls are evil sounding and diverse, but more importantly Prisoners goes on to show that Alissa can really sing. Her hit and miss cleans almost ruined the last album, so I was both apprehensive and hopeful about her singing this time around. The strange half-growled-half-clean vocal style shown in the choruses of 'Predator and Prayer' and 'You're Coming With Me' is really down to personal taste, I wasn't too fond of it. But the chorus and groovy ending of 'Dead Ocean', most of 'Anxious Darwinians' and the epic finale of 'Revenge of the Dadaists' show that it's not only in the growl department that Alissa has serious power.

The step ups musically are mirrored by step ups in songwriting. While songs like 'You're Coming With Me' and 'The Lonely Solipsist' follow relatively straightforward structures, the band has also included some more progressive and diverse sounding tracks. 'Dead Ocean' is the huge success here, it is heavy, evolving, riff-centered and amazingly even manages to segue into a very natural sounding jazzy ending. Other longer tracks like the single 'Ideomotor' seem to lose their way a little. While not being a bad song, it just seems a little too rough, like lots of individual sections of music that just don't mesh well as a whole. Personally I would also argue that it was not a great choice for a single, as it isn't nearly as catchy or memorable as some of the album's other songs. Even so the 2 minute semi guitar solo at the end is almost fantastic enough to make up for the rest of the track before it.

Altogether this highlights the album's biggest, glaring flaw; the one thing preventing this band from being truly great. And that is memorability. There are no 'weak' tracks on the album, but at the same time there aren't many that will really stand out to you. 'Panophobia', for example, will make for a great mosh in concert but in context of the album it's easily overlooked. If this band can make the step up from writing a solid album to writing a classic, they have the potential to go very far.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (4)
An album almost as astounding as the level of progress made by the band itself....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Youniverse
June 7th 2012


28 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty decent album but as you pointed out it lacks in the memorability department.
Nice listen nonetheless. Dunno why but it kinda feels like Century Media Records isn't releasing top-notch stuff anymore, they used to be a pretty bad ass record label though. Oh well.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2012


8371 Comments


Decent review. There are a few grammar slips here and there and the review score seems to be inflated considering what you say in the review, but it is adequately written, so I'll pos.

Lullabies For The Dormant Mind was a decent album, but I'm not into this kind of music much anymore.

Willie
Moderator
June 7th 2012


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

They're getting better, but still have some stuff to work on. If you like these guys you should try System Divide and Deadlock.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

My1mmortal
June 7th 2012


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gave the high score based on the content of the actual songs, which are all great to listen to. Yeah, I can sort of see now that the review reflects a 3/3.5 more than a 4. Apologies

Shuyin
June 7th 2012


11827 Comments


i only liked the first song of Lullabies For the Dormant, the rest of the album was pretty meh tbh. anyway, nice review, have a pos.

Digging: Yoko Kanno - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST Vol 1

Scoot
June 7th 2012


17812 Comments


used to dig them back in the day

hah i forgot about deadlock, code of honor was a dope song

JokineAugustus
June 7th 2012


6200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is amazing all the way through, not one dull moment for me.


Digging: KEN mode - Reprisal

My1mmortal
June 7th 2012


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Revenge of the Dadaists is without a doubt the greatest song here, The Agonist have actually composed a fantastic album closer (unlike horrible 'Chlorpromazine' from Lullabies)

JokineAugustus
June 8th 2012


6200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I actually thought Chlorpromazine was really good. But thats just me. I didn't think they could top lullabies but they really did.

My1mmortal
June 8th 2012


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last half was, but personally I found the first half just unlistenable

zaruyache
June 10th 2012


6838 Comments


Uh, she still can't sing. Or she can sing, but her cleans don't fit the rhythms of the
instrumentation, and end up feeling awkward. This isn't possibly anything greater than a 3.5/5.

Digging: Ardour Loom - Demo

Thor
June 11th 2012


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not as good as their last one

JokineAugustus
June 11th 2012


6200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I loved their last one and thought this really took it a step further.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2012


1891 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Given that this is the band's longest album to date, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were going down an experimental road-but this isn't knew, as evident on their previous album, 'Lullabies for the dormant Mind'. However, there are fewer 'classical' influences regarding the operatic vocal styles and use of some orchestral sounds, but this only makes way for more brutality and melody, that only The Agonist could do so well. It is by a margin their best album to date in my opinion.

LilLioness
November 11th 2012


2582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Dead Ocean" is my favorite on here. And why is it there is always that one person claiming a vocalist can't sing? Why do so many people confuse "I don't care for this person's singing" with "they can't sing"?

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012


14699 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's not that she doesn't have a good voice, but her vocal delivery is really unconventional. As zaruyache said, she sings rhythmically with the instruments, and it can end up sounding really awkward. On here, that's no longer an issue but on Lullabies it was really forced, so yeah I can understand why somebody wouldn't like her singing.

Digging: Off Minor - The Heat Death of the Universe

JokineAugustus
January 15th 2013


6200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I notice a lot of Opeth influence on this album. Kind of progressive in certain parts.

trollger
February 25th 2013


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"but if you judge an entire band on one crappy single then you need to open your mind a little."

Unless its hip-hop

trollger
February 25th 2013


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh and nice review, good band, I think I'll check out their older stuff. Hope it's not as bad as you say it is, or I'll be a bit upset.

NeoSpaz
April 11th 2013


4519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is fun



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