With every foot forward The Agonist takes on their newest record Five, they invariably take three steps back. If you do the math, you’re looking at an album that cancels itself out very quickly. When two granite prisms collide—we’re talking about Vicky Psarakis’ non-meditated vocals and the band’s overall musical direction—a mist quickly gathers, and wipes away all strained relations and odd creative structures—an empty vat is made (or unmade, rather).
Mostly, the melody on this record feels wickedly forced. Every time a sick riff happens (and they happen often), Psarakis comes in with some strange neo-classical nu-metal chorus that falls flat and sounds so weird and wrong, you just cringe. Too bad, I don’t like not liking albums, but Five just rings hallow. It’s got this odd circus backdrop, like some mutated gothic theatre production with absolutely no sense of humor.
“The Raven Eyes” might be one the worst songs I’ve ever heard. Mostly because it just lays in this surrounding plasma that rejects its every fiber. And when it’s over, you’d think the band would sneak a few metal-core riffs in there for the hell of it, but no, some monstrosity of an airy instrumental follows. It hurts. Then there are some riffs—and they’re good; but quickly more cut and paste melody, and seriousness that is stale and brick-like. Nothing like the band’s last album Eye of Providence—at least that had some humor—like “Gates of Horn and Ivory”—and melody that accentuated the conceived darkness and heady riffs. That band is pretty rocking.
Five is a weirdo of a record, and not in a good way. The Agonist is pretty ripping when they stick to barrel chugs and death metal vamps. They’re not good with melody and combination though—particularly on their newest release—and unfortunately that’s where they usually lay all their eggs. The album sinks and sinks and keeps on sinking. There’s no lifeboat for this one.