Album Reviews

The Agonist – Orphans Review

Released by Napalm Records, Rodeostar Records

Release Date: September 20th, 2019

Genre: Metalcore, Heavy Metal, Melodic Death

 

Line Up:

Vicky Psarakis – Vocals

Danny Marino – Guitars

Chirs Kells – Bass

Simon McKay – Drums

Pascal Jobin – Guitars

 

Tracklist:

1. In Vertigo

2. As One We Survive

3. The Gift Of Silence

4. Blood As My Guide

5. Mr Cold

6. Dust To Dust

7. A Devil Made Me Do It

8. The Killing I

9. Orphans

10. Burn It All Down

 

Canadian extreme metal band The Agonist are back with their sixth studio release for Napalm Records. This is the third album including the charismatic frontwoman Vicky Psarakis and it could be considered their most complete and mature material to date. The combination of various music elements throughout the record gives the impression that the Quebec metalcore team has taken their composition abilities to the next level. It’s more than obvious that the evolution of the group for what the substance and the quality is concerned is more than remarkable. The music arrangements are fully adapted to the amazing vocal abilities of Vicky Psarakis, a singer which has already put her own trademark to The Agonist extreme sound with her incredible passages from clean high range notes to brutal death growls.

There is an incredible balance between the impressive variety of musical elements that shows that the band has no intention of keeping the same standards to their sound with the risk of being taken for granted or repeating themselves into the same compositions over and over again. The impressive mixture of aggression, potency, power, and melody make this album perfect for the audience that enjoys observing the evolution of their favorite band’s sound through time.

Even though the simple artwork of the album shows nothing more than the band’s logo in a foggy background, the musical arrangements hidden behind it should be considered extraordinary. The explosive opener “In Vertigo” with amazing guitar work and Psarakis’s dominating growls, a sample of a perfect and precise execution is followed by “As One, We Survive”, with explosive speedy drum parts and impressive rhythmic sections, overpowered by the frontwoman’s clean vocals. Moreover, “The Gift Of Silence” with the wonderful classic singing at the beginning and the following thunderous unclean parts is the absolute demonstration of the incredible abilities of the Greek American vocalist. While “Blood As My Guide” stands out as a death metal ballad, there is an incredible power that comes through its speed section, giving another example of high-quality musical compositions.

The Agonist never stops to experiment themselves throughout this release and with “Mr. Cold” they show they are able a rock style to their sound. While “Dust To Dust” waves through a more classic mid-tempo melodic death mood, “A Devil Made Me Do It” is a track of fast ferocious passages which fade into slower smooth and emotional parts with incisive lyrics like “I’ll take your unwillingness and make you crumble”. At this point, the clean vocals give a determined but also bittersweet character to the song. The variety of sound continues with “The Killing I”, where the mixture of power metal melodies, with the big catchy chorus, the surprising insane guitar solo, the punchy drumming along with the screaming interpretation of Psarakis give another devastating moment to the album.

It seems that The Agonist won’t stop offering more surprising moments to the listener, even at the final section of the record. Here comes the title track which provides a deceiving symphonic intro to a narration of a fairytale, a slower melody with the vocalist in a real diva moment. Meanwhile, the sweeter epic memorable chorus “I have always lived in this castle” alternates with some really brutal growl picks in absolute harmony, the incredible melodic and heavy at the same time rotating guitar work is a very interesting element, impossible not to observe. “Burn It All Down” gives a powerful ending to the record, even though the brutal aggressive intro could be deceiving. The heavy guitar riffs fade into a mid-tempo memorable chorus giving to the listener another moment of surprise and admiration.

The complexity of sound and the thunderous vocals will impress every fan of evolution, originality and music diversity. “Orphans” is an excellent album, which shows the unique talent of the musicians of the Canadian band into the innovative composition and precise execution of songs which undoubtedly will never let the listener get tired of. The element of surprise is very intense and there is no weak track on this new offering from The Agonist. The great material that this new studio work contains is taken to the next level by the major caliber of the intense, expressive and emotional interpretation of Vicky Psarakis. “Orphans” is an outstanding piece of professional and mature heavy metal music.

 

Ratings: 9/10

Written by: Katerina Paisoglou

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

 

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