The Agonist



by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (92 Reviews)
June 16th, 2012 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album almost as astounding as the level of progress made by the band itself.

This female-fronted Canadian band have always given the impression that they have bucket loads of talent, but can’t seem to find a way to break free of the flaws that largely plagued the dying genre of metalcore. While their debut was canned for being a generic, run-of-the-mill release, lacking in inspiration and creativity, there were glimpses of untapped potential. Songs like “Rise and Fall”, “Take a Bow” and the single “Business Suits and Combat Boots” raised eyebrows for being genuinely decent songs in an otherwise poor album. If only The Agonist were able to keep the filler to a minimum and find something that made them stand out, this talented quintet may be able to craft something worth listening to more than once.

They took a big step towards recognition with the release of Lullabies For a Dormant Mind. Although their sophomore effort still had its flaws, it showed that at least they were trying to do something great, and shift their sound from the doldrums of a brand of metal being brought to its knees. Now in 2012, their development as a band and as individual musicians has culminated in an excellent record, oozing with inspiration from a plethora of genres, such as melodeath, thrash and progressive metal. The song writing on “Prisoners” has improved tenfold from their debut, with creatively structured tracks like “Your Coming With Me”, “Predator and Prayer”, “Anxious Darwinians” and “Ideomotor”. They take the metalcore rulebook and proceed to burn and defile it, with songs on this album baring little resemblance to the typical verse-chorus stylings of their original material.

The technicality and instrumentation on Prisoners is also a massive step-up, not only from their debut, but also this album’s immediate predecessor. The pummeling riff on “Lonely Solipsist” (one of the album’s numerous highlights) is but one of many examples of The Agonist’s undeniably catchy yet intricate instrumentation. The guitar work on “Everybody Wants You (Dead)” is also very impressive, while Danny still persists with his punchy, infectious riffs, his work is complimented by Paco Jobin’s excellent lead work. But as ever, the highlight of this release is Alyssa White-Gluz’ signature vocals. While obviously gaining a shit-tonne of attention due to the fact that she’s ridiculously hot, she proves that her place in the band is also well warranted, musically. Her growls rival some of the genre’s best male vocals, and her clean singing finally sounds as if it’s found its place among all the blast beats and savagery from the guitars. The scolding lyrics only add to the whole experience, though they occasionally delve into pretentiousness. Her best vocal work can be found on songs such as “The Escape”, “Anxious Darwinians” and the closer “Revenge of The Diadists”.

In closing, “Prisoners” is a fantastic record, its only immediate flaw being that its quirkiness could drive away some listeners, such as Alyssa’s unusual clean vocal delivery, the lyrics and the slightly odd structure some of the longer tracks. The Agonist have produced an absolute gem regardless, and I would recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the lighter side of extreme metal.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 16th 2012


enjoyable review, especially for a first

used to listen to these guys for obvious reasons when i was younger. i'll check this out but i doubt it's as good as you say it is

June 16th 2012


Lullabies was good, I will check this

Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Great for a first review, very detailed. I liked The Agonist's last album, and despised their first one. I never even heard about them releasing a third this year! It sounds pretty good though, seeing as their second album showed a great maturity and progression in the band's sound.

Digging: Mourning Beloveth - Rust & Bone

June 18th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. Totally agree! Only thing to correct, Danny does the lead on Everybody Wants You (Dead). Paco is the lead on You're Coming With Me, maybe that was the confusion ? They are both awesome guitar players though, this album is killer!

June 24th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I can't see why this only has a 3.7 average! Stop tag teaming to try and lower the rating.

Digging: Mekong Delta - The Music of Erich Zann

June 24th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

There was quite a bit of progression, I'll agree with that, but I still don't think it made them very good. It's mainly her harsh vocals and the average hooks.

Digging: Obscura - Akrasis

June 25th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I just don't see how the hooks and her vocals can be called average. They definitely don't sound like anything I've heard before. I think her vocals fit the album perfectly, and it just wouldn't sound the same with someone else.

November 8th 2012



August 26th 2013


Oah! King Harkinian is missed, rip

March 19th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Next album will probably blow loads now

November 2nd 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

That 2-minute instrumental appended to the end of Ideomotor is delicious.

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