The fifth studio album by Canadian melodic death metal band The Agonist, aptly named Five, was released on the 30th of September 2016. This is their second album since Vicky Psarakis’ debut in 2014. She has already shown her worth in Eye of Providence (2015). She convinced a lot of people of her capabilities then and this album will surely show us more of her extraordinary vocal range. For this release the band turned towards Mike Plotnikoff to see over the mixing process. Five has a different sound as to what we are all used to. But you know what they say: not all change is bad change!
From the beginning you notice the clear sound which was lacking in Eye of Providence. At times though, I wondered if it wasn’t too clear. The drums sound somewhat artificial here and there but Vicky’s clean singing seems to stand out more. This was immediately noticeable in the first track The Moment. The second song though, The Chain, is faster paced and the high vocals make way for the low. The chorus is very catchy which makes this one of the songs that sticks in your head for a while. The pace of The Chain continues in The Anchor and the Sail and The Game. With catchy riffs, a strong drum- and bassline and great vocals, these are two great songs to get even the toughest of crowds in action. The Ocean tries fooling you with the calm intro and admittedly, not being the hardest track of the album, it does kick a punch 15 seconds in. Halfway through is a pretty special song called The Raven Eyes. Being fully acoustic you’d think it wouldn’t fit well here but strangely enough it does. It also shows off the different styles Vicky can sing. This particular song has a jazzy/bluesy touch to it. If you thought this would be the only soft song, think again. Next up is The Wake. A piano interlude that starts off calm and increases in tension with violins added to the fray to create a Sonata Arctica type of atmosphere. The serenity of the piano is short lived though with The Resurrection kicking in right after. The double bass intro to the track is superb and the guitar and vocal changes make this a really interesting song to listen to. The Villain on the other hand is an awesome song for a moshpit. The fast paced tempo tears through the track and even to the “calmer” parts of the song you’ll find yourself moving along. The Pursuit of Emptiness starts off with a nice continuous build up with growling added to it which makes for an unexpected but nice bit of music. The Man who fell to Earth has a very calm intro which makes it more of a head bopper rather than a body mover. The pace is kept throughout the song but like every other song on this album with the same concept, it doesn’t get boring. The Trial could’ve had a bit more force to it but the combination of Vicky’s voice and the melodic blend of the instruments only give credit to Five. As a finale, The Agonist covered Take me to Church by Hozier. The original and this rendition aren’t comparable. The original is a great indie rock song and this is a great metal song. A very nice ending to a very nice album
Even though there are certain songs that might seem repetitive, I found there was enough variety to keep my attention. It didn’t even bother me to listen to the album on repeat to get to know the songs for this review. The band throws several different styles in here which might not appeal to everyone but the broad minded metalhead will certainly appreciate it. It shows a lot of what The Agonist is capable of doing: vocally and instrumentally. Listen to the album and you’ll surely find a song you can relate to because all the songs have a deeper meaning when you listen to the lyrics. I’m looking forward to see them live when they tour my way. Giving Five a very nice 8,5/10 !
Release Date: September 30th, 2016
Label: Napalm Records
3.The anchor and the sail
7.The raven eyes
11.The pursuit of emptiness
12.The man who fell to eart
14.Take me to church