So how can The Agonist top their previous release, 'Lullabies For The Dormant Mind'? Personally I thought that album was stella and it worries me when I love an album so much that the band will not be able to achieve with their follow up. Well fear not for The Agonist have not failed with their third album, 'Prisoners'.
Within minutes of the album starting the potential is realised and you really start to see how the band has matured and refined their sound by pushing harder and being more ballsy, not necessarily heavier or more melodic, but certainly hitting with a harder punch. The eleven tracks display how thorough the band have been in writing the album, creating deep emotions and precise layers of melodies.
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'You're Coming With Me' starts with Spanish guitarring and then kicks straight into business, storming through to the finish with multiple layers of solos and offering a more classic guitar solo than you hear with modern Metal. Imagine a bit of Slash, with other great examples being in 'The Escape' and 'Ideomotor', which also has a two minute instrumental reprise - just in case you didn't get enough from the previous six minutes.
'Dead Ocean' offers us a change in tone, but not in pace, with a striking resemblance to Opeth complete with acoustic slowdowns. 'Everybody Wants You Dead' comes full of energy with some hints of Pantera, which the band have also cited as an influence with this album.
'Predator And Prayer' starts off with a child's choir, which I always hate, but thankfully this is very short and only used again quietly in the background and made up with an awesome solo, sounding a little less widdly than 'Sinister Gates'. 'The Mass Of The Earth' has a section with an odd out of time flan (a type of hit on the snare drum), but both of which otherwise being kick ass tracks, and that's basically the only negative I can find with this album.
I feel a great pace from 'Prisoners' with the tracks being tied together with a common theme of morals. The album attracts you further into itself not lasting too long nor rushing by too quick. The musicianship is outstanding, from Alissa's gutsy growling and ability to switch to clean singing and stunning operatics. Danny and Paco's guitarring ranges from fast and furious, sweeping melodies and rock n' roll solos.
Simon's ability to drum so fast and yet be so tight and clean in delivery fascinates me and I think he's one of the best drummers out there at the moment, the best stand out track being 'Panophobia' with wicked snare rolls, fills and morphing rhythms.
This leaves us with bassist Chris and man, what a player. I don't know technicalities about bass playing but there's one trick up his sleeve which just sounds awesome, like some kind of sweeping tapping or something. Think along the lines of Mudvayne, perfect example at 1:33 in the opening track.
Without a doubt there is no reason you shouldn't have 'Prisoners' in your collection as it will appeal to all Metal fans, especially of Mathcore and Metalcore.