Album Review – The Agonist / Days Before the World Wept EP (2021)

Canada’s own Melodic Death Metal beast returns with a new EP inspired by real life experiences, exploring a grim, conceptual tale of greed, gluttony, confusion, pain, redemption and hope.

After the excellent full-length albums Eye of Providence and Orphans (and the mediocre Five), Montreal, Canada-based Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore outfit The Agonist is back in 2021 with an amazing new EP beautifully titled Days Before the World Wept, taking another bold step in their musical and lyrical progression. Produced by Christian Donaldson at The Grid Productions (Beyond Creation, Cryptopsy, Despised Icon), Days Before The World Wept is inspired by real life experiences, exploring a grim, conceptual tale of greed, gluttony, confusion, pain, redemption and hope enveloped in a new level of aggression and cohesive, technical prowess carefully brought into being by frontwoman Vicky Psarakis, guitarists Danny Marino and Pascal “Paco” Jobin, bassist Chris Kells and drummer Simon McKay, therefore representing a new solid stone in the metallic castle of one of the most important bands of the Canadian metal scene.

Serene, melancholic piano notes ignite the Melodic Death Metal extravaganza titled Remnants in Time, where Vicky sounds like a she-wolf on vocals, growling like a demented creature while Simon hammers his drums mercilessly, or in other words, it’s old school The Agonist with a modern twist. Immaculate Deception is another shot of brutality and harmony by the quintet, with Danny, Pascal and Chris slashing their stringed weapons in great fashion, therefore putting us all to headbang nonstop; followed by Resurrection a solid metal tune where Vicky continues to shine with both her deep guttural roars and her piercing clean vocals, showcasing tons of intricacy and violence thanks to the rumbling kitchen by Chris and Simon. And the band’s guitar duo keeps extracting sheer electricity and darkness from their weapons while Vicky screams and sings beautifully in Feast on the Living, presenting a classic Melodic Death Metal sound infused with Metalcore elements, not to mention how vibrant the drums by Simon sound and feel. Lastly, the title-track Days Before the World Wept is the most demonic and heaviest of the EP, with Vicky being a beast incarnate on vocals, offering us all six minutes of savagery with the band’s trademark melody while bringing to our ears razor-edged riffs and crushing beats, all spiced up by a delicate and whimsical chorus.

In a nutshell, The Agonist nailed it with Days Before the World Wept, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, bringing to our avid ears the band’s full potential even being just a five-track EP, and you can show your support to Vicky and the boys by following them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and by purchasing the EP by clicking HERE, or in case you have some extra budget left I recommend you go for the outstanding Days Before the World Wept Immortal Bundle including a signed vinyl 45RPM, a signed CD, a signed 11×17 poster, a 4×4 sticker, a pullover hoodie, a stress ball, a bottle opener keychain, and a T-shirt (from five awesome choices). The days before the world wept might be long past us, but the music by The Agonist remains strong, heavy and thrilling just the way we like it in their new opus, paving the way for more of their first-class releases in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Remnants in Time and Days Before the World Wept.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Remnants in Time 4:53
2. Immaculate Deception 3:35
3. Resurrection 5:11
4. Feast on the Living 3:22
5. Days Before the World Wept 6:05

Band members
Vicky Psarakis – vocals
Danny Marino – guitar
Pascal “Paco” Jobin – guitar
Chris Kells – bass
Simon McKay – drums

Album Review – Aversed / Impermanent (2021)

An up-and-coming American entity is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their debut album, presenting their own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.

Let’s all celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the first-class metal music blasted by Boston, Massachusetts-based female-fronted unity Aversed in their debut full-length opus entitled Impermanent, the ass-kicking follow-up to their 2011 self-titled EP and their 2016 EP Renewal. Mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson at The Grid Productions, produced by the band’s own guitarist Alden Marchand, and displaying a sick artwork by Adam Burke at Nightjar Illustration, Impermanent illustrates the unique approach to songwriting by frontwoman Haydee Irizarry, guitarists Sungwoo Jeong and Alden Marchand, bassist Peter Albert de Reyna and drummer Jeff Saltzman with nine diverse compositions full of catchy hooks and vast melodies, pivoting from Melodic Death Metal towards a nuanced balance of Blackened and Orchestral Melodic Metal. “The album presents our own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.  However, like the changing mind, we present this inevitable human destruction as a chance for a beautiful rebirth, a chance for new life to flourish.  We attempted to portray this imagery by combining the violence of death and black metal with the lighthearted beauty of rock & roll, blues, and classical,” commented the band about their newborn beast.

A melancholic intro quickly explodes into a venomous Melodic Death Metal feast entitled Natsukashi, a Japanese word used when something evokes a fond memory from your past, also presenting hints of classic Death and Black Metal while Jeff takes the lead with his unstoppable beats, accompanied by the razor-edged guitars by Sungwoo and Alden and, therefore, resulting in a beyond perfect way to start the album. Then we have Close My Eyes, bringing to our ears a very pleasant and melodious vibe where Haydee steals the show with both her piercing clean vocals and her she-wolf roars, living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Arch Enemy and The Agonist, not to mention the amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo once again; followed by Laboratory, where we’re treated to very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Haydee (“Ten thousand years ago / the blossom of mankind / sprung forth unto Earth / a civilized mistake / Machines to woo thy mind / and spin it into exquisite design / separated from nature / we transcend into gods”) amidst a neck-breaking, demented Death Metal sound where Peter and Jeff make the earth tremble with their infernal kitchen. And putting the pedal to the metal the quintet offers the frantic and austere title-track Impermanent, with Jeff’s crushing drums walking hand in hand with the hellish screams by Haydee.

After such imposing tune, a smooth and serene intro and the background sound of waves kick off the thrilling Abandoned, alternating between more melodic Metalcore moments and sheer savagery, with Sungwoo’s and Alden’s riffs cutting our skin deep, whereas blending their core sonority with Progressive Death Metal, they bring forward the intricate, multi-layered Solar Sea, where Haydee keeps growling nonstop (and obviously stunning us all with her amazing voice), while Peter blasts his bass with tons of intricacy and rage. In Malaise the band invests into a more straightforward, in-your-face sound while still presenting their most melodic side, with the band’s guitar duo, accompanied by the bass jabs by Peter, generating a dense and strident atmosphere from start to finish; and Aversed will blow your mind with the epicness and violence flowing from Spiraling, a metallic and insane extravaganza where Jeff sounds utterly bestial behind his drums while Haydee keeps embellishing the airwaves with her piercing clean vocals and devilish growls. And lastly, it’s time for more of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal with Progressive Metal and Metalcore in Nightshade, once again presenting furious riffs and beats intertwined with the demented roars by Haydee, growing in intensity until fading into an ethereal finale.

After taking several listens to Impermanent, I must say that such awesome, multi-layered album of modern metal music will certainly become a (and sorry about the bad joke) permanent part of my daily metal playlist, and I highly recommend you also add it to yours by purchasing it from the band’s own BandCamp page, where you can by the way acquire a fantastic bundle containing a shirt, a double-sided hoodie, a CD in jewel case and the LP version of the album, or from Apple Music, showing your absolute support to one of the most promising and hardworking bands of the current American scene. Hence, don’t forget to also follow the guys and girl from Aversed on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their kick-ass videos, helping to keep the fires of the underground burning bright. In the end, Aversed did a superb job with Impermanent, paving an exciting path ahead of them in the melodic and progressive landscape while at the same time offering something fresh to admirers of the fusion of aggressiveness and harmony. And if this is just their first album, I can’t imagine how far the band can go in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Natsukashi, Laboratory and Nightshade.

Worst moments of the album: Malaise.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Natsukashi 5:29
2. Close My Eyes 5:35
3. Laboratory 4:13
4. Impermanent 6:45
5. Abandoned 6:21
6. Solar Sea 7:36
7. Malaise 5:52
8. Spiraling 6:27
9. Nightshade 8:35

Band members
Haydee Irizarry – vocals
Sungwoo Jeong – guitars
Alden Marchand – guitars
Peter Albert de Reyna – bass
Jeff Saltzman – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Logue – orchestrations
Eden Rayz – cello