The Agonist Prisoners

The Agonist Prisoners

This is the third studio album from Montreal, QC's the Agonist. Influenced most heavily by metalcore, with some melodic death metal elements, Prisoners is more sophisticated than either of their previous two offerings. It's faster, nimbler, more technically proficient and certainly more focused. Alissa White-Gluz's transitions between death growls and clean singing are sharp and clean, often layered on top of each other in the production. While in the past, White-Gluz's voice was the band's primary selling point, on Prisoners the instrumentation has finally caught up. There's a renewed vigour in the drumming and the stampeding riffs, both driving forward with clawing urgency. "Ideomotor," the first single, is far more architectural than previous highlight tracks; it's a towering sonic edifice. The Agonist also allow themselves space to get a bit weird, like the carnivalesque and spoken word elements they add to "Revenge of the Dadaist." There are still flaws: the album is too long at 58 minutes and listening from start to finish is a slog. The record would have benefitted from a merciless, samurai edit. It is good, however, to see this band grow and evolve, displaying genuine musical sophistication with Prisoners. Often pigeonholed as a band whose major appeal came from the attractiveness of their front woman, to see them confronting that stigma with a complex and mature record is encouraging. (Century Media)