playing time: 57:18
release date: 30/09/2016
ranking: 10/10 (or in this case 5/5 :D )
Fantastic. Individualistic. Versatile. Epic.
If you feel attracted to these words, you will love the new masterpiece of the Canadian Band >>The Agonist<<. With their new album called “FIVE” they combine all five elements in one record.
In 57:18 minutes you can hear Vicky Psarakis singing 14 different songs, you definitely can say she is one of the most talented persons in the metal business. Combined with Danny Marino’s and Pascal “Paco“ Jobin’s heavy guitars, Simon McKay’s drums and Chris Kells' bass guitar you get the final amazing rhythm of the songs.
From heavy screams to low and slow singing, everything is provided on “FIVE”.
Starting with a well-known song called “The Moment”, the album shows from the beginning what the real The Agonist is made of. As it starts you can hear a sound building up which you could imagine is created by a synthesizer, but it’s originally Vicky Psarakis, because she can. They also released their second music video for this song which shows Vicky singing in a big glass of water. We all are happy she survived this. Next, you hear her clean singing voice she often uses in alternation with her screams, which suits her very very well. The guitars and the drums are very striking here but appear to be used differently than in their first single “The Chain” where Vicky’s voice sounds different than in the previous song.
Listening to "The Chain" makes you feel the very heavy metal. You can feel the guitars and the drums, also the bass. Vicky’s voice reaches from clean vocals to screams and growls, all in one song. If it comes to the end you find a brilliant guitar solo which lets your metal heart beat faster.
“This is not just a battle. This is bedlam, bedlam on the boulevard” ~ The Chain
Going on with song number three, “The Anchor and the Sail”. You like it heavy and fast? This is the perfect song for you because it embodies these attributes. The incredible clean singing by the lead singer in the beginning leads instantly to the first chorus to her well used harsh vocals which create the original The Agonist sound known from their classics “Thank you, Pain” or “Panophobia” from their previous albums, not only because of the terrifying guitar riffs and hard drums. Further, the refrain is slower than the rest.
“The Game” has damn neck-breaking riffs at the beginning, followed by hard drums. Though it calms down a bit sometimes, it's one of the brutal songs of the album.
Take your time and listen, listen to „The Ocean“, which is song number five on “FIVE”. It’s the song with the most untypical vocals at the beginning. It’s like Vicky speaks through a pipe like on the radio many years ago when the quality of the broadcast wasn’t the best. But then, Vicky’s rocky voice kicks in and her voice and vocal range is totally brought into focus. More radio-like spoken parts are heard throughout the whole song. The instruments stay mostly in the background, though the guitar is emphasized here, but Vicky is still in the foreground.
In “The Hunt” you’ll find all typical elements The Agonist stands for. It begins with a dark guitar riff and step by step the drums and a light humming are noticeable which is created by Vicky as well as the following vocal lines. It’s a harsh song where Vicky can show off her talent impressively. What’s also new is that they released the music video today where they perform on a roof top of an old building, like an industry area. That’s the perfect scenery for this song.
Do you want something completely different than you are used to when you listen to The Agonist? Then you are right here with “The Raveneyes”. It’s close to a blues song in the style of Amy Winehouse.
It’s the only song on the album which has just an acoustic guitar and Vicky’s amazing bluesy voice which you know from her cover of Adeles “Skyfall”. With its length of 5:35 it’s the longest song on the album but one of the most beautiful ones, too, because you can hear Vicky sing completely clean. If you are used to The Agonist sound, you will be happy with this alternation.
For the very first time in their career, they composed a song without any vocals. It’s a nice instrumental piece of 2:45 which invites you to calm down and relax from all their heavy songs. It starts with some parts of a violin, piano and flute. Later in the song you can also sense a trumpet. All these acoustic instruments build up a suspense and remind me of a film where someone is riding a horse through the meadows.
“The Wake” would be the perfect intro to start their upcoming live shows. Curtains up, let us welcome The Agonist on stage. It seems like “The Wake” and the following song “The Resurrection” belong together since “The Resurrection” starts where “The Wake” ends. There is a drum solo at the beginning which is accompanied by Vicky’s dark growls. In the middle of the song after around three minutes, the song becomes shallow and there is a short break of three seconds which makes you think a new song is coming. It isn’t the case because “The Resurrection” is the second song with more than five minutes playing time. After that small break it goes on with an intensive drum solo followed by the singers’ voice again.
“I killed them all of course”, Vicky speaks in an echoing dark voice at the beginning of song number 10. That song is really badass with its death metal beginning where Vicky shows her immense talent in brutal growling. It’s one of the hardest songs on FIVE. In the refrain, which is totally catchy, you can hear a duet between Vicky’s clear vocals and her brutal growls which makes “The Villain” a killer.
“Money can’t buy happiness” they say in the refrain. I would argue that you can buy The Agonist’s new album and many concert tickets, which is almost the same thing. In “The Pursuit of Emptiness”, they talk about our society and how humans think that they are bound to succeed. Everyone tells you money alone doesn’t make you happy but in the end, everyone would kill to be rich or successful. The song starts off with a heavy guitar solo which points perfectly to the seriousness of the topic. Moreover, Vicky’s aggressive grunts and screams reflect the anger at this.
It’s time for a slower song which grows intensity, especially through Vicky’s voice. In the beginning, they only set in with a calm guitar part and later with a slow voice which sounds depressed but still harsh. The first two minutes of this song are slightly annoying because the words appear extended in length as they are pronounced. This is detached from an echoing line which leaves your brain in chaos. After that, the song goes on with a normal sound which makes it more decent at last. Nevertheless, “The Man Who Fell to Earth” is a song with a meaning.
13, a number which brings bad luck? You could say this because now it’s the last song on FIVE. But the guys and the girl of The Agonist tried to avoid the bad luck thing so they added a bonus song after “The Trial”. Violins, in a song of a melodic death metal band? Yes, that works perfectly well as you can see in the melodic beginning of “The Trail” where they have added some strings in the background. Vicky shows off her incredible clean vocals and her highest notes on this album so far. Her sound, the strings and the guitar riffs add an eerie atmosphere to the song until the last tune.
The perfect ending is created with a terrific cover of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”, which is a bonus on FIVE.
After skipping the first verse of the original song, Vicky starts directly with a triple “Amen”. Not only do The Agonist cover this song, they interpret it completely new.
The line “This is hungry work” is screamed by Vicky and in the original version it’s just a normal line in a slow song. In general, they made it slightly faster than the original. But to be honest, this is so much better than the original because Vicky’s voice and the instruments fit together so well that you can think it’s originally by The Agonist. Good work!
“Being in The Agonist for over two years now and after releasing my debut album with the band and numerous tours, I can say that Five is the record where I believe that we finally found our sound! There’s a certain confidence that comes with experience and there’s something about being fully comfortable that can take your approach towards songwriting to a whole other level. Working on the lyrics and vocals on this album was an incredibly natural process. Halfway into the pre-production, we realized that a lot of our songs seemed to be telling a story and hearing the album in its entirety is like escaping into our world.” ~ Vicky Psarakis
To sum up I will give you FIVE reasons why you will love this album.
Firstly, because it’s a new masterpiece by one of the best bands in the metal world. They have a fantastic singer who fits in very well in the band and their style, not only are her singing skills amazing, her personality is gorgeous, too. That’s the second reason. Thirdly, all the songs have so much energy to help you grow and feel healthy, there is so much variability in each of the songs and that’s something really special. Do you need another point? Okay, reason number four is following: The creativity behind the whole concept is stunning. I mean, did you notice that all the tracks on the new record are consistently entitled with nouns, preceded by the definite article “the“? Or that they named their album FIVE? Combine this fact with the fact that The Agonist has five members and it’s their fifth studio album since they exist.
Another one? Okay, there you go, but after that you should definitely go and pre-order FIVE, attend one of their shows in the next days and buy the album along all the other Merch products.
Reason number FIVE why you should buy FIVE is because it’s by far the best album of the year 2016 and in contrast to their previous release “Eye of Providence”, it sounds much smoother, but in no case worse.
1. “The Moment”
2. “The Chain”
3. “The Anchor and the Sail”
4. “The Game”
5. “The Ocean”
6. “The Hunt”
7. “The Raven Eyes”
8. “The Wake”
9. “The Resurrection”
10. “The Villain”
11. “The Pursuit of Emptiness”
12. “The Man Who Fell to Earth”
13. “The Trial”
14. “Take Me to Church” (Hozier cover) (Bonus Edition Only)