The Agonist – Five

Record label: Napalm Records
Release date: September 30th

Every once in a while, one hits an album that refuses to be listened to in its entirety. The feeling can be described as ‘anything-but’ or ‘when-does-it-end’? I couldn’t help but running into exactly this when reviewing Five.

The Music: is a mixture of mostly easy-yet-catchy riffs (think: Arch Enemy). I wouldn’t go as far as calling them amateuristic, but I’ve heard better ones. The compositions mix different styles without seeming to have any direction; death metal (The Resurrection) to melodic to bombastically symphonic (The Raven Eyes, The Wake): it’s all there. A bass-guitar playing ‘along-just-fine’ makes for a bit of coherent structure. Aside from these relevant pleasantries are some of the worst and cringe worthy tempo and/or style changes I’ve heard in a long time (The Anchor and the Sail), but this is probably due to their affinity with metal-core which I definitely do not share. All in all, not too much to hate and/or love, because it’s actually rather boring.

The Text: Although in the wrong order with respect to the album, thanks for sending along the lyrics with the promo. This would be a good habit for other bands as well. Although I am, at first glance, not that interested in the lyrical contents, the lyrics sheet revealed a rather mediocre set of songs dealing with ‘moral concerns and the state of the world’.

The Voice: Gods high and low, please stop those vocals! The mixture of mediocre-to-bad grunts/growls with outright off-key cleans is just too much for me. It sounds like a very bad mixture between ripping the (long outlived) standard set by good-ol’ Angela Gossow and some of the gothic-metal legends such as Nightwish. However did this stuff get produced, Napalm?

The Verdict: Calling it just horrible would surpass the fact the album is also boring. The music is rather unoriginal and sounds like it is written and recorded without putting much effort into it. The vocal part just renders this album into something that is for me (almost) unlistenable. Agony.

Rating: 5/10

1. The Moment
2. The Chain
3. The Anchor and the Sail
4. The Game
5. The Ocean
6. The Hunt
7. The Raven Eyes
8. The Wake
9. The Resurrection
10. The Villain
11. The Pursuit of Emptiness
12. The Man Who Fell to Earth
13. The Trial
14. Take Me to Church (Hozier cover)