Hearing Aide: The Agonist ‘Eye of Providence’
Since 2004, The Agonist have released three full-length albums. In March of 2014, they announced a lineup change when original vocalist, Alissa White-Gluz, left to join Arch Enemy. Vicky Psarakis then assumed her new role as The Agonist‘s lead vocalist. Eye of Providence (All Seeing Eye of God) is their newest release and has been available since February 24th, 2015, but be warned! Diehard Agonist fans beware! The majority of this album makes me feel as though there is an entirely new band present!
Vicky Psarakis’s vocals are on point but they bring a noticeable change to the band’s overall sound right off the bat. The guitars have also switched up their dynamic a bit. In this instance, the leads are more memorable than the riffing, and the riffs themselves seem to be more melody driven than I’m accustomed to. Any longtime Agonist fan might agree that this slightly new guitar direction makes for a necessary musical “double-take”, before you’re able to just take in the music. As for the production, this record screams studio magic, but that tends to only further take away from the raw, raunchy sound I used to associate with The Agonist. Structurally speaking, most of these tunes are simpler and more repetitive, often implementing the “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, end” formula, which once again seems so unlike this band. Take this review with a grain of salt though. If you were iffy about The Agonist before for any reason, Eye of Providence may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Vicky’s vocals are fantastic and I was actually more impressed by her cleans than I was her screams. Her vocal melodies just feel more tasteful than Alyssa’s, I suppose. Then again, if you’re an Agonist scream era fan, prepare for predominant crisp cleans throughout the entire record. I’d say that 75% of the vocals are clean singing from start to finish. The screams are there, the screams are solid, but it’s not the same. The ratio of cleans to screams only left me wanting more vocal diversity.
Guitar-wise, I can’t tell if they’re using different effects or a different tuning, but there’s a noticeable tone change on this album that I like a great deal. It makes the heavy parts heavier and the intricate parts crisper.
Key Tracks: Gates of Horn and Ivory, My Witness, Your Victim, I Endeavor
When all was said and done, I didn’t like this album, but I also didn’t dislike it. I guess we fans of the original Agonist sound may just have to tread carefully before accepting Eye of Providence into our music libraries. Cheers!