Montreal’s The Agonist are a damn good band that plays a combo of melodic death metal and metalcore. Now, anyone who’s read previous reviews of mine for both this and other publications, will know that with the exception of maybe 4 bands, (Trivium, Odium, Killswitch Engage, Take the Earth Beneath Us) I absolutely loath metalcore and deathcore to the very “core” of my being. However, I will admit that when the style is done well the results can be hooky as fuck. The Agonist‘s “Prisoners,” is a prime example of when it is done well.
The main problem I have with metalcore is that generally the clean vocals feel forced and overly “poppy” like the band is trying to appeal to 13 year olds into Lady Gaga or something. Or maybe they think it makes them more appealing to girls. I really don’t know. All I do know is that generally it sounds like shit. However, The Agonist don’t sound forced at all when they do clean vocals, the transition between the clean and screamed vocals feels very natural.
Led by vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, The Agonist are both heavy and melodic. Alissa’s voice goes between brutal as fuck death to rock chick in the blink of an eye, and the hooks! Man, those choruses are about as hooky as you can get. Add in socially conscious lyrics about animal rights and vegan living and you have one damn good album to blast at top volume.
“Prisoners” is leaps and bounds over the band’s previous album’s, at least to these ears. The band seem to have matured and become better as both songwriters and musicians in the last album released as it is somehow both heavier and tuneful at the same time. Check it out it dropped in June 2012, on Century Media records.