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'Eye Of Providence'
(Century Media)
Out Now

Johnny Main

johnny main

the agonist

Canadian extreme Metal band The Agonist were formed in Montreal, Quebec back in 2004 by guitarist Danny Marino and bassist Chris Kells. Originally known as The Tempest, the band adopted their current name when they inked a record deal with Century Media in 2007. 'Eye Of Providence' is their fourth full length studio album and it's the first to feature new vocalist, Vicky Psarakis, revitalising the band and their sound.

This thirteen track opus comes in at around sixty minutes and is a showcase not only for the vocal talents of Psarakis (previously known for her work with Greek band, Rage of Romance), but also for some of the best tracks the band have produced in their career so far.

If you look at 'Danse Macabre', for example, it has drummer Simon McKay kicking the song off and its one of the more mid-paced tracks included. Don't get me wrong though, it still rattles along at a fair pace. McKay's drum beat is simple enough and keeps the track together whilst Psarakis gives one of her more straightforward performances. Psarakis's voice retains a power here and she really stretches her voice during the choruses which are split by some demon guitar playing courtesy of Danny Marino and Pascal "Paco" Jobin.

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When it comes to fast paced numbers, then you don't have to wait long until they begin. 'I Endeavour' has Psarakis switching from clean vocals to a harsher sounding growl. Her performance is full on from start to finish and you'd be forgiven for thinking that there must be another lead vocalist, as her performance really is one of contrasts. Holding some of the longer notes without wavering is a huge ask, but she demonstrates this with consummate ease. The rest of the band are hardly idle either with McKay pounding out the relentless beat whilst Marino and Jobin keep the rhythm going before launching into the guitar solos.

'Faceless Messenger' continues the frantic pace too, with the guitar riff and drums in place, the song also features Psarakis's almost angelic tones at the start mixed in with the other half of her performance where she pushes out a rawer, growling sound. It's another great performance that shows she's well suited to the band and has the vocal skills to keep their existing fan base happy and to attract new ones.

The relentless guitar riff is joined by McKay's equally solid sounding beat as he does his best to keep the rhythm steady at the back. As the guitar tone rises in preparation for the guitar solo, Psarakis's voice can more than match the change while the guitar solo itself ends up being a somewhat minimalist affair.

the agonist

'Perpetual Notion' is more of a mid-paced number, and once the simple intro has been negotiated, the guitars and drums blast out of the speakers but the listener still has some forty five seconds until the vocal section finally breaks in. Psarakis delivers another great performance and the counterpoint of the harsh vocals against her clearer vocal performance is great as sahe again she proves what a genuinely great singer she is a she stretches her voice in some of the longer notes as the song reaches its climax.

'A Necessary Evil' gives both Marino and Jobin their moments in the spotlight with some great guitar work. Sure it may not be right to the front of the mix as the drums try and steal all the glory, but it's a more than competent solo.

As every band does, of course, there is a softer side to The Agonist, and this is perfectly demonstrated by 'The Perfect Embodiment' and 'A Gentle Disease'. The former has Psarakis giving a more sympathetic performance that she has on other songs, even as the tempo of the song ramps up. Demonstrating what a great singing voice she has, it remains strong as it builds up during the song. The music track is no slouch here either with McKay still steadfastly punching out the beat.

The latter affords Psarakis what I consider to be amongst her best performances here. Featuring just a simple guitar and whispered vocals, these really showcase the inner beauty of the song. There's such a wide gulf between this and some of the bands harsher material but it just proves they are more than capable of producing material which encompasses a variety of musical styles.

There isn't really much to this song and sometimes the less the better as it just comes across much better with just the voice and guitar combination. If you're going to start to listen to this band, I recommend you start here, and I'm sure you'll not be disappointed.

You can see the official video for 'Danse Macabre' here:

You can see The Agonist live here:
Saturday 8th August – Heavy Montreal 2015, Montreal, Canada
Tuesday 8th September – Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore
Wednesday 9th September – Paradise Rock Club, Boston
Friday 11th September – Corona Theatre, Montreal
Saturday 12th September – Imperial Theatre, Quebec City
Sunday 13th September – The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
Tuesday 15th September – House of Blues, Chicago
Wednesday 16th September – Mill City Nights, Minneapolis
Friday 18th September – O'Brians Event Centre, Saskatoon
Saturday 19th September – Union Hall, Edmonton
Sunday 20th September – Macewan Hall, Calgary
Tuesday 22nd September – Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
Wednesday 23rd September – Neumos, Seattle
Friday 25th September – The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
Saturday 26th September – Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles
Monday 28th September – Gothic Theatre, Englewood
Tuesday 29th September – Sokol Auditorium, Omaha
Thursday 1st October – Mercury Ballroom, Louisville
Friday 2nd October – Agora Ballroom, Cleveland
Saturday 3rd October – Irving Plaza, New York

'Eye Of Providence' Tracklist:
Gates Of Horn And Ivory
My Witness, Your Victim
Danse Macabre
I Endeavor
Faceless Messenger
Perpetual Notion
A Necessary Evil
Architects Hallucinate
Disconnect Me
The Perfect Embodiment
A Gentle Disease
Follow The Crossed Line
As Above, So Below

The Agonist are:
Vicky Psarakis – Vocals
Danny Marino – Guitar
Pascal "Paco" Jobin – Guitar
Chris Kells – Bass Guitar
Simon McKay – Drums

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