I’m not sure what many of you guys thought about THE AGONIST’S first album with Vicky Psarakis on vocals, Eye of Providence. And quite frankly I don’t really care. We here at A&GS loved it, so naturally we were excited to get our hands on new record Five (out now, Napalm Records). Psarakis is an amazing talent, and is equally adept at clean singing, growls, and screams. The boys in the band are no slouches either, and on this record you can feel them pushing boundaries while pushing themselves, not only to play harder, but to move in different directions.
The raw aggression that makes the band who they are is still there, obviously, but one listen to a song like “The Raven Eyes” will make you realize that there’s a whole lot more going on. It’s just Vicky and acoustic guitars, and it’s quite haunting. On the other side of the coin, there’s my personal favorite “The Hunt”. Lush harmonies over a riff that’ll gouge your eyes out and feed them to you make for arguably one of the best tunes they’ve ever written. Opener “The Moment” is anything but typical when it comes to starting an album. There is a push and pull that goes back and forth from siren-esque to angry, and it will definitely grab your attention.
This moves into “The Chain” which is an all-out asskicker, the whole band wrecking everything in sight. This intensity carries over into the next two tracks “The Anchor and the Sail” and “The Game” which was another one that got me going right away. The potent combo of melody and aggression really works here. It’s also hard not to be seduced by the wicked vocals at the start of “The Ocean” that pull you in. Then the band smacks you upside the head. In complete contrast, calm and serene instrumental “The Wake” serves as a way to lull you into a state of calm before “The Resurrection” whups your ass for five minutes and change.
“The Villain” has a sensational riff and the ferocity of a cyclone that makes it another album standout while “The Man Who Fell to Earth” is more of a dirge with a slow, deliberate riff that Psarakis sings over. As a bonus track we are treated to a sizzling cover of HOZIER’S “Take Me to Church” that absolutely buries the original. I often find myself singing the hook hours after the record is done, this version is that damn good. THE AGONIST have struck gold once again with Five, and quite a few of these songs should find their way into the band’s live set and become a permanent fixture there. You should definitely grab this one, folks!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Hunt”, The Villain”, “The Game”, “The Anchor and the Sail”, “The Moment”, “Take Me to Church”