The Escape EP (Century Media)
THE AGONIST are wrapping up a two-year long album and tour cycle behind their excellent last album, Lullabies for the Dormant Mind. Coinciding with their late summer run of dates opening for KAMELOT, the band is providing the first taste of new music via their new EP The Escape. As a sample of what is to come off of their next full length due in early 2012, we can hear the band hard at work and refining their style. Leaving behind some of their metal core past, the band now harnesses an even more potent mix of prog and symphonic tech death. Part of the maturation process for every band is how they grow beyond their comfort zone once they achieve a level of acclaim. THE AGONIST has shown they have done just that in this small sample of tunes.
Violent, chaotic and totally badass, “Lonely Solipsist” starts things off in grand fashion. The song is a heavy and catchy maelstrom of riffs, frenetic beats and guttural screams. Immediately noticeable is the crisp quality of the mix which was handled expertly by Tue Madson (THE HAUNTED, DARK TRANQUILITY). Obviously any discussion of the band begins with dynamite lead singer Alissa White-Gluz. As one of the finest singers in the world (not just the metal world), there is very little she cannot do on the microphone. She offsets her brutally gruff screaming with the all of the talent of the finest Opera singers. She has the range and chops to sing over any style of music and she often gives the music a compelling, soulful delivery. The first song is just a beast with a charging beat, crazy riffing and killer vocals. When White-Gluz shifts from her growls to a self-harmonized vocalise, the results are magical. The entire band has stepped up their collective game so far, especially drummer Simon McKay who just slays. “The Escape” starts off with more of a rock feel with a terrific sung melodic chorus. That sweetness quickly gives way to a harsh death metal verse full of intricate guitar work and crushing grooves. Guitarists Danny Marino and Paco Jobin are excellent at putting together parts that flow instead of clash. Jobin lays down a shreddy solo and even bassist Chris Kells gets into the act with some technical runs. The last 25% of the track boils down into a thrashy, tech death stomp. Both songs are equally harsh and catchy all at once and ought to satisfy new and old fans alike. This band is clearly just now scratching the surface of what they are capable of so color me more excited than ever about their new album.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes