It seems there is quite a trend in having an aggressive sounding female in front of a metalcore-like band with young (and pretty) musicians these days. Canadian album debutants The Agonist is no exception from that “rule”, probably mainly aimed at the north American market of young buyers. But why being a vegan and wanting to save the world is so important to promote as a part of the band image, I don’t quite understand – it’s hard to tell if it’s a true conviction or just as much a way to promote one self with the politically correct opinions.
Leaving that aside and concentrating on the music, that in this case is a blend of metalcore, modern metal, melodic death and some gothic influences, in the harder end of the scale.
Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz has a powerful voice, that manages both throat screams a la Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy and melodic singing a la Amy Lee of Evanescence: the vocals being what mainly carries the band through and gives this album some edge. And with some more variation in tone and phrasing, she has the potential to be a really strong and interesting vocalist.
The weakest side of this album is in my opinion the composing: all of the numbers sound more or less alike, as they go on in very much the same pace and level. To me most of them doesn’t really stand out from each other in neither music nor singing. Neither the riffing or the drumming is particularly interesting – what they play they play well, but there are no really evident hooks or melodies that stand out in my memory after the record is over…some of the tracks have interesting parts, and the sound production is clear and well done, but the overall impression is a bit flat and without any clear highlights.
…and then the music suddenly stopped, the record was over, and I was thinking: “Ooh, surprise, that was it? – how many tracks were there exactly? Do I want to hear it again…?”
My advice: Listen before you buy.
Recommended tracks: “Rise And Fall”, Trophy Kill” and “Memento Mori”