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Album Review

Although its explosively schizophrenic amalgam of disparate sounds, moods, and intensities might initially suggest otherwise, the Agonist's third album, 2012's Prisoners, is in fact an apt summation of that which came before it; a mature, calculated freakout representing the latest sprint in the Canadian band's aggressive evolutionary curve, well beyond the modest metalcore roots of 2007's Once Only Imagined debut. To that end, the recurring involvement of producer Christian Donaldson (known for his work with technical death metal ensemble Cryptopsy, among others) cannot be overlooked, as he clearly helped shepherd the Agonist's instrumentalists beyond the marked improvement (and still slightly overbearing deathcore influences) shown on 2009's Lullabies for the Dormant Mind toward a far more polished and progressive sort of controlled chaos. What's more, he did so while harnessing the outstanding, nerve-fraying vocal transformations of singer Alissa White-Glutz — who can switch between coarse grunts and angelic melodies at the drop of a guillotine — and let her sail atop these choppy seas with the fluid savvy of an albatross (with rare exceptions like weak-link "Dead Ocean"). And, whereas the obscenely broad range of the Agonist's creative reach is already copiously displayed by brain-twisting numbers such as "You're Coming with Me," "Anxious Darwinians" (which takes Lacuna Coil to a darker, more violent place), and the frankly overlong "Ideomotor" (which fades after an endless, seemingly tacked-on guitar solo), it's masterfully crafted highlights such as "Predator & Prayer," "Panophobia," and "Everybody Wants You (Dead)" that really pull it all together, fusing the extreme complexities and infectious hooks at war throughout the album with utmost precision. No, not perfection, precision: the band still has room for improvement (see less distinctive, curiously nerdy fare like "Lonely Solipsist," "The Mass of the Earth," and "Revenge of the Dadaists") and to say the group has achieved true originality of sound would be a heck of an overstatement. Rather, the Canadians continue to impress with their maturing talents and, at this rate, that utter break from familiar sounds could be just around the next corner.

Customer Reviews


I've loved The Agonist since the beginning and they never cease to impress me! This is their best album so far! Well worth the wait! :D


An excellent album. I liked all of the songs. Definitely worth getting.

Agonist Rocks!

I really want to love this band. I do respect what they are trying to do. But I can only handle so much of the harsh vocals. Alissa's clean vocal range is under utilized in my opinion. If they used the harsh vocalizations more for accentuation and the clean vocals for the bulk of the singing, I would be more inclined to dive in head first for this amazing band.


Formed: 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A typical product of the mid-2000s metallic deathcore movement, Montreal, Canada's the Agonist are composed of vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, guitarist Danny Marino, bassist Chris Kells, and drummer Simon McKay. Formed in early 2007, the quartet originally went by the name of the Tempest, but quickly made the switch while recording its debut album, Once Only Imagined, for release through Century...
Full Bio
Prisoners, The Agonist
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Metal, Music, Rock
  • Released: Jul 17, 2012

Customer Ratings