Weekly Recommendation: The Agonist - Once Only Imagined
Before achieving mass success with Swedish melodic death metal titans, Arch Enemy, Alissa White-Gluz was part of an often forgotten yet great metalcore band, The Agonist. The band made their full-length debut in September of 2007 with "Once Only Imagined" and while not the first metalcore band with a female vocalist, they are the first female-fronted to play the modern metalcore song. Since White-Gluz departure from the band, they have fallen off the map for all intents and purposes, however they do leave behind a catalog of excellent records from 2007-2102 that are all worth giving a deeper dive. The record we've chosen to cover today due in large part to it's significance, is their debut.
Backed by great melodies and tasteful technical riffs, Alissa White-Gluz's screams go toe-to-toe with most of the males in this genre and her clean singing blows almost every one of her male peers out of the water. The album is paced extremely well, giving you the crushing breakdown riff s when you want them and the sweet picked melodies when you need them. "Once Only Imagined" doesn't overstay it's welcome in any areas, which is an easy hole to fall into in core music. There is never a time where this album will have you tired of clean singing and longing for a harshly screamed thrasher or vice-versa. The lack of filler on this album is quite refreshing. The instrumentation on this record is very high quality and can hold weight with some of the better bands in the genre.
There are several tracks to be found here that undeniable go just as hard as some of the heaviest metalcore bands around. Giving this album a listen, it is very hard to comprehend why they didn't become much bigger. The total package seems to be here for a massively successful band, perhaps even to the level of Parkway Drive and As I Lay Dying, but for reasons unclear the band us unable to ever reach such heights. Regardless, this is an excellently written album with no major flaws or holes to be found. Particularly when taking into account that this is a debut record it becomes all the more impressive how professional, well-executed and tightly performed the performances are. The band would go on to release several universally acclaimed albums with White-Gluz before her tumultuous departure and her following joining of Arch Enemy. If you feel like listening to an all-around wonderfully done metalcore album then this is a must listen.