The Agonist: Eye of Providence review

It is extremely difficult for any band to recover from the loss of a key member and that turmoil is greatly compounded when that member is not only the lead singer, but a founding member of the band. That is the situation Montreal, Quebec hardcore rockers The Agonist found themselves in when founding vocalist Alissa White-Glutz left the band in 2014 to join Arch Enemy after the departure of Angela Gossow. Their new album for Century Media Eye of Providence is a highly anticipated musical diatribe about the band’s redolent never say die attitude to overcoming any and all obstacles life throws your way. Eye of Providence is the band’s fourth studio release since forming in 2004 and marks the first with new singer Vicky Psarakis. Believe it or not, the band found Psarakis on YouTube singing along to songs in her house. They invited her to try out and the rest they say is musical history. The album was recorded at The Grid Studios with producer Chris Donaldson at the helm and the cover features a close up photo of an actual human eye by Deepti Suddul that was brought to life by artist Aaron Marsh. Melodic hardcore tracks like opener “Gates of Horn & Ivory,” “My Witness, Your Victim” and “Architects Hallucinate” make it abundantly clear right off the bat that Psarakis will have no problem filling the void left by White-Glutz’s departure. Her seamless transition, from guttural growl to clean vocals is as good or better as any of her metal peers. Ironically, tracks like “A Necessary Evil” and “Follow the Crossed Line” are sonic assaults of sand blasted emotions exactly like what White-Glutz left the band to do with Arch Enemy, while tracks like “Danse Macabre” and “The Perfect Embodiment” take their musical cues from Opeth and Devin Townsend. Elsewhere, Psarakis’ back and forth vocal delivery on “Faceless Messenger” and “Perpetual Notion” is so breathtaking, they actually sounds like duets between her and former Nightwish siren Tarja Turunen. Meanwhile, the solo in “Disconnect Me” is a mind boggling display of technical dexterity that Pascal “Paco” Jobin was forced to tap out, after breaking his finger in the studio and to transcend the predictable and to escape the drudgery of expectation, closer “As Above, So Below,” is a nearly 8 minute epic that sounds like a lost Pretty Reckless song. Here’s the bottom line- Eye of Providence is easily the band’s heaviest and most melodic album to date and will have you thanking them repeatedly for getting Vicky Psarakis out of her living room and onto the world stage. Rating: 8.5 out of 10 -Eric Hunker Singer Vicky Psarakis talks Eye of Providence: