The Agonist – Prisoners

Female fronted metal bands, I personally really loath the term. I find it a hollow shell, because it doesn’t give any information about the style of a certain band. Both Arch Enemy and Epica have female vocalists, but both outfits are on opposite side of the metal spectrum. Montreal, Canada-based The Agonist is another metal outfit featuring a female singer, but this time around it’s a lady whose good looks are only exceeded by her vocal capabilities.
“Prisoners” is the third album by these Canadians and it’s arguably their most focused and compact effort to date.
Gone are the dramatics that characterised the previous album. This time it’s all about memorable tunes. The song material on “Prisoners” which can best be described as a volatile mix between Soilwork’s The Panic Broadcast and Chimaira’s Resurrection and The Infection albums. Some slight Meshuggah overtones add extra spice and texture to the album.
As previously mentioned The Agonist’s greatest ace in the hole is vocalist Alissa White-Gluz. Within a heartbeat she can alternate between ferocious growls to opera-styled vocals. However, on this album she mainly limits herself to her deadly arsenal of growls and some bittersweet clean sung choruses. “You’re Coming With Me”, “The Escape” and “Anxious Darwinians” are good reference points in this matter. Another key feature is the tasteful guitar work by Danny Marino and Pascal Jobin. “Ideomotor” and “Revenge Of The Dadaists” are also particularly noteworthy.
The production values of this album are expertly handled by Cryptopsy guitarist Chris Donaldson. He gave “Prisoners” its modern and in-your-face sound.
“Prisoners” by The Agonist won’t re-write the playbook within their field of metal, but it’s a very solid and enjoyable release nonetheless. The song material is memorable and energetic and Alissa and the rest of the band gave it their all. I’m sure that fans of the more modern styles of metal will be thrilled with this album. (8/10) 

Raymond Westland