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Single Review: The Agonist – Disconnect Me

Photo: Von Wong

Alissa White-Gluz is a name you’ve probably heard a lot of late. Filling in for Anette Olzon with Nightwish, joining Kamelot on tour or, most notably, her replacing Angela Gossow as the lead vocalist of Arch Enemy. Where it all started for Alissa, though, was The Agonist. A band that, in their own right, have achieved a strong standing on the underground. But what will they do without the blue-haired vixen? Carry on just fine, actually.

The first thing that strikes you on ‘Disconnect Me’ is new vocalist Vicky Psarakis. Ofcourse, your ear is drawn to her as you dissect the new blood and whether she’s worthy of her place. But another reason, and the reason she stood out for me personally, is that she is a really really good singer. The intensity of the verses are complimented by Psarakis’ growls – they sound frustrated and threatening. Don’t be afraid, though – her sweet, crisp and clean vocals bring out the best in the tracks titular refrain. A mesmerising collision of the chugging verses and an inviting chorus that has defined some of the best singles by The Agonist. It’s basically their thing.

Anyway, it’s not all about Vicky. The guitars are commanding just as much attention as they sneak into dominance in the middle eight, matching the frantic vibe the song evokes. As the solo soars, it’s possibly the most epic and dramatic moment in the song that really does lift the harsh atmosphere for a few seconds, giving something a little more rousing. It works in that it builds up to a high, only to crash into a chugging instrumental and a final couplet by Vicky. But it doesn’t end on a chorus? Ah. We’ll have to play it again then, won’t we.

‘Disconnect Me’ doesn’t signal a massive change for The Agonist. Vicky gels perfectly and the bands development onto the new record should be rather seamless. A band that continue to nail their chosen sound, the single puts you in the classic predicament – if you like The Agonist, you’ll like ‘Disconnect Me’ and if you have never been keen, Vicky’s induction is unlikely to change your mindset. It’s a logical continuation for the band, undeterred by the loss of a pretty central member and their rise from the ashes looks set to retain everything they have already achieved. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty impressive that they’ve made this swapping-singer malarkey look quite easy. Take note, Nightwish.

Photo: Von Wong
Words: Simon McMurdo

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