Over the course of three full-lengths The Agonist have proved they’re no “Flavor of the Week.” Through great songs, hard work, and an ardent fanbase, the Montreal-based five-piece quickly established themselves as torchbearers of a new generation of Canadian metal, much of it on the shoulders of founding members Danny Marino, Chris Kells, and Alissa White-Gluz. Throughout the last decade, The Agonist spread their respective wings wide, touring with a wide array of notable artists, including Danzig, Kamelot, Corrosion of Conformity, Enslaved, Kittie, and Epica.
Times and circumstances change, however. After parting ways with White-Gluz in 2014—she’s now center stage in labelmates Arch Enemy—, The Agonist set out to find a new vocalist. For a split second, the group considered a frontman to replace White-Gluz, but quickly realized the dynamic wouldn’t work. Searching high and low, they found American vocalist Vicky Psarakis on Youtube. Psarakis wasn’t just covering songs by Iron Maiden, Nevermore, Adele, and Nightwish in the comfort of her home studio. She was magically altering them. Her online performance was enough for The Agonist to request an audition, for which she nailed and the rest is history. “The change has actually been quite smooth overall,” guitarist Marino acknowledges. “Part in thanks to Vicky’s ability to rise to the occasion and our fans open mindedness. I think the fact that the Agonist has often gone outside the box musically has attracted fans that welcome change and new things pretty easily.”
The Agonist, now with Psarakis fronting, are preparing to unfurl Eye of Providence. Powerful, diverse, aggressive, and epic are all buzzwords used to describe the group’s fourth full-length. Album opener “Gates of Horn and Ivory” immediately shows The Agonist’s intentions. There is no escape from Marino and Pascal Jobin’s aggro-melodic riffing, Kells’ storm-like bass, and Simon McKay’s thunderous drums. And no doubt will Psarakis’ screams, growls, and full-bodied clean vocals floor longtime fans and hook new acolytes. This is The Agonist reborn! This fact couldn’t be truer in lead single, “Disconnect Me”. The frontwoman immediately demonstrates she’s ready to be in the ruling class of metal singers, while the rest of her bandmates cleverly pound out a killer song as if it’s nothing. Turns out, Eye of Providence was as effortlessly awesome to make.
Says Marino: “It was a whole new experience and the most enjoyable we’ve ever had. There was an air of full collaboration like never before. It was a good balance of group effort and individual composition and understanding that balance. While Danny and Vicky were the main composers, every member composed part of this album and this was the first album where lyrical content was also shared between Vicky, Danny and Simon.”