The Agonist
Eye of Providence


3.0
good

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel STAFF
February 25th, 2015 | 11 replies


Release Date: 02/24/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Talent begins to lose direction.

The Agonist is one of the most interesting metal bands in recent years. They blend various genres of extreme metal together while mixing in subtle doses of melody and diverse instrumentation, making each record its own unique release. Despite the lukewarm reception to their debut Once Only Imagined, the album remained an interesting and different take on their genre. Since then they’ve increased tempos, upped the instrumental technicality, and propelled to mainstream recognition in the metal world. The charisma and impressive vocal range of frontwoman and animal activist Alissa White-Gluz had no small part in their success. Each album proved to be better than the last, and they seemed to only improve compositionally and conceptually with each release. Out of nowhere, White-Gluz would replace Arch Enemy’s vocalist Angela Gossow in early 2014, suddenly leaving The Agonist without a frontwoman. They quickly found a replacement, then unknown singer Vicky Psarakis. Eye of Providence is a new album from a changed band, and shouldn’t necessarily be compared to previous releases in determining its quality, especially in the face of such tumultuous events. One can’t help but notice, however, that Eye of Providence essentially sounds like a melodic metalcore band trying to write music in the vein of The Agonist. Diversity pops up once in a while, but it feels contrived and forced. Gone are the extended acoustic guitar sections from Prisoners, or the abundance of theatrical vocal and instrumental quirks found throughout Lullabies…. Instead we get The Agonist playing it safe. While Eye of Providence can’t be called a bad release, it remains merely sporadically enjoyable.

The most disappointing aspect of Eye… is how it regresses most of the progress The Agonist had made with albums like 2009’s Lullabies for the Dormant Mind and 2012’s Prisoners, by being generic and largely treading old ground. It is mostly a predictable and largely uneventful listen that lacks the charisma and diversity of past material. “I Endeavor” find The Agonist attempting to resurrect their past successes with one of the best melodic choruses found on the album. Guitar tapping is prevalent throughout, and Psarakis showcases impressive alternating vocal styles of harsh growling and some of her best clean vocals put to record. Most of her vocals sound reminiscent of White-Gluz's, but her voice proves her as a solid replacement that sonically fits with the group’s sound well enough. “Disconnect Me” alternates melodeath guitar riffing with a metalcore sounding chorus and an abundance of technical guitar playing. One of the most noticeable aspects of Eye of Providence is how mechanical the guitars sound. While the playing itself tries hard to be interesting and varied, it never quite reaches its full potential. “Faceless Messenger” is one of the better cuts, with the guitarists showing a surprising amount of restraint. When not trading off solos, they play mysterious sounding guitar chords, nostalgically reminiscent of the more engrossing moments of Prisoners.

The Agonist almost seem afraid to continue to evolve from their upward trajectory. “Perpetual Notion” and “The Perfect Embodiment” each have quieter, atmospheric intros that try to shine through the monotonous heaviness, but quickly give in and belt out the metal. The use of variety only seems to have room to breathe in the best song of the album, closer “As Above, So Below.” It begins with ambient guitars quietly strumming, while the percussion lays a progressive off kilter drumbeat. Psarkis gives her most emotional and passioned performance of the album. It gradually builds intensity until the guitars once again quiet down over more attention grabbing vocals. It builds again, then finally climaxes. An ambient guitar and bass provide a haunting collection of final notes before fading the album into silence. The listener can’t help but ask, “Where has the band that wrote this song been for the past twelve tracks"” The Agonist saved almost all of their inspiration and unpredictability found in abundance on past releases for the album closer. What made them so special is scarce on Eye of Providence, and despite most of the songs holding their own well enough, longtime fans won’t be able to shake the feeling of disappointment of what could have been with the potential of newfound success, and a new vocalist.



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user ratings (93)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Jacquibim STAFF (2.5)
A worrying sign that Prisoners may have been a fluke....

Jared Floryan (3.5)
Eyes are the window to the soul....



Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2015


17572 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Stream Here



http://www.metalsucks.net/2015/02/19/stream-eye-providence-new-album-agonist/



Constructive criticism welcome as always

Digging: Rolo Tomassi - Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2015


24559 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Revolver Magazine blessed her with the “Hottest Chick In Metal” award multiple years in a row. "

interesting fact but irrelevant



"When not trading off solos, they make use of complicated eigthnote chords reminiscent of Prisoners."

not sure what you mean by eighth note chords. are they played in succession as eighth notes? i would take it out altogether and go for a more general description of their sound/songwriting techniques there



well written though and i agree with the review. havent heard their early material so i cant compare but this is enjoyable

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2015


17572 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Thanks Andrew, I re-worded a few things.



Ever the optimist Snox

JokineAugustus
February 24th 2015


8713 Comments


pos dude. they won't beat prisoners now

Cygnatti
February 24th 2015


32528 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

good god so this is was melodeath sounds like?? i wish i stayed ignorant all these years.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2015


24559 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

only listened to this once but i dont remember much melodeath if any

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2015


17572 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

I wouldn't call this melodeath, there's just a few riffs that remind me of bands like Arch Enemy. There's still some genrebending, but I'd say it's mainly melodic metalcore.

Cygnatti
February 24th 2015


32528 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Okay good bc rym is sittin here tellin me it's melodeath and I'm just like this is just bad metalcore with sung choruses...?

Crisis averted.

Rastapunk
February 25th 2015


1304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They hype made me rate it 4 but yeah, I'm listening to it more and more and it becomes slowly a 3



I do like the new singer though!

Rastapunk
February 25th 2015


1304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

She has a cover of audioslave that is outstanding

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2015


17572 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

It's interesting how successful bands can recruit anyone good enough just from some internet video they had made.



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