Once Only Imagined

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Band Name The Agonist
Album Name Once Only Imagined
Type Album
Released date 14 August 2007
Labels Century Media
Music StyleMelodic Death
Members owning this album134

Tracklist

1. Synopsis 00:32
2. Rise and Fall 04:02
3. Born Dead, Buried Alive 04:32
4. Take a Bow 04:05
5. Trophy Kill 03:39
6. Business Suits and Combat Boots 05:27
7. Serendipity 03:42
8. Memento Mori 03:09
9. Void of Sympathy 04:21
10. Chiaroscuro 01:06
11. Forget Tomorrow 03:37
Bonustrack (Japanese Edition)
12. Feel No Guilt
Total playing time 38:12

Review @ Satanicarchangel

21 November 2013

Ultimately Uninteresting and One Dimensional

The Agonist is a melodic metalcore band that has receiving a lot of press in the metal scene. How, how is this? With the exception of the (extremely) attractive vocalist this band has absolutely nothing going for them. In fact, I’m actually baffled that this band has received a good response from the metal world when this doesn't sound too different from *shudder* Asking Alexandria.

Okay, maybe that was a bit of an overstatement. There are no annoying techno bits, no terribly auto tuned vocals, but riffing wise they’re incredibly similar. Melodic, yet ultimately uninteresting lead work mixed with awful, awful breakdowns. It’s all very standard affair for pop metalcore and adds absolutely nothing to the genre. With the album title, the band’s name and even the member’s appearances you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be a gothic metal album. All visual signals point towards this but don’t be fooled, this is pure poppy metalcore.

The guitar front is really weak on this album. The tone is excruciatingly weak and thin, there’s no power behind them, there’s no interesting riffs. All of the songs tend to blur into each other as there’s very little, if any difference between them. The use of breakdowns is laughably bad, being incredibly disjointed and incongruous with the rest of the music. Thankfully they don’t take up that much of the album so there’s no three minute breakdown fest. Void of Sympathy is one of the only tracks in which the guitar work actually gets turned up a notch. The riffs in this song are actually interesting, being quite melodic and suitably catchy. I also quite like the clean guitar breaks, it adds a sense of variety and depth to an otherwise entirely monotonous album. Unfortunately though this glimmer of potential is short lived as the following track, the instrumental Chiaroscuro has a hilarious emo pop vibe to it, destroying any semblance of potential this band established on the previous song.

Vocally, The Agonist is a mixed bag. The clean vocals, whilst being quite good aren't particularly the most “metal” sounding vocals I've ever heard, and would perhaps be better suited for a pop rock album rather than a metal one. Also, there’s absolutely no variety with them between each song, same vocal melodies are recycled over and over again, there’s no change in tone, pitch or dynamics.
On the other side of the coin the harsh vocals are terrible. They’re very weak and she seems to try out every harsh vocal technique known to man, failing in all of them I might add.

Yet even with all the negatives there are some positives I feel I should talk about. Whilst for the most part the guitar work is uninteresting, occasionally an interesting guitar line shines through. Business Suits and Combat Boots in particular has some decent guitar work. Opening up with a mildly technical riff before transitioning into a breakdown that strangely works. The breakdown is thankfully mixed up with some melodic leads as to keep it interesting. Yes, the guitar tone is weak, but the band seems to make more of an effort to me much more poppy and metalcore oriented on this track and it weirdly works. The dual guitar work, reminiscent of a band such as Sonic Syndicate are quite good, the riffs are interesting and there’s enough ideas on this track. However, that breakdown section in the introduction gets repeated a bit too much throughout and the chorus is nauseating with the particularly melodramatic clean vocals. The lyrical work is actually interesting, exploring the ills in today’s society they’re quite poignant and is obvious Alissa takes them very seriously and that they come from the heart.

Overall though this is an ultimately uninteresting album from a band who are trying so desperately to be part of a scene they’ll never belong to. I wouldn't be able to recommend this to anyone as this is about as banal and cliché ridden as it can possibly get. Invest your time on something worthwhile and pass this one up.

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Comment @ metal_flank

19 January 2008
I got a copy of this from a friend who bought it and have listened to it extensively. Well, according to SOM this band is a Metalcore band. I call their style "Cookie Cutter Metal" due to the fact that there’s no diversity in sight. And that, not only is everything the same from song to song, but the same from band to band. If you’ve heard Beneath The Massacre, you’ve heard All That Remains. If you’ve heard All That Remains, then you’ve heard these guys… Get my point? There’s hundreds of garage bands right now on Myspace who sound like these guys note for note.

The vocalist has her chops. I like the fact she does both clean and growls. It’s like Amy Lee and Angela Gassow rolled into one. Honestly, she sounds exactly like both women. Which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about it.

Now back to the music. It’s pretty sad when I can play two thirds of this album with one hand. If you can chug an open B to a kick drum, you’re now able to do it too. I mean, why even have a bassist? Why not just take a B string and stretch it across the face of the kick drum and mount an EMG on the rim. You’ll achieve the same result and save tons of money by not having to pay for stuff like your bassist’ beer tabs or doctor’s bills because you threw your back out lugging his giant cabs. I just don’t get why all the kids today are into this kind of stuff as much as they are. I grew up on bands like Iron Maiden. And today I see bands like this filling up the bills for Ozzfest while Maiden gets egged.

The album is recorded with all the money a label can buy so recording wise you’re getting your money’s worth. If Metalcore is your thing then I guess I would have to recommend this album. If you’re looking for a guitar god who’s blasting out solos to complex song writing, better just wait till a friend gets this one and listen to his copy.

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Crinn - 04 June 2012: Cookie Cutter Metal? These guys make Wintersun and The Contortionist sound like Cookie Cutter Metal haha
IHateTheSun - 06 June 2012: lol
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