Once Only Imagined
posted on 9/2007 By:
The Agonist’s single, “Business Suits and Combat Boots”, opens with a whispered challenge: “Does history guide you, or do you set out to change it?” Um...what was Testament’s third album called, again…?
Powered by the record label that once brought you Nattens Madrigal, this band is basically a vehicle for straight-edge, blue-haired, “look-at-me-I’m-a-vegan!” lead singer Alissa White-Gluz’s pseudo-political lyrical agenda. This fact wouldn’t be so glaringly apparent if her cohorts were capable of bringing something to the table other than a riffless, chug-heavy brand of metalcore that has been heard a trillion times before, even by those who do their best to avoid that type of dreck entirely.
Imagine if Light This City decided to eschew kicking copious amounts of ass, and instead attempted to pursue a six-figure corporate sponsorship from Hot Topic by half-heartedly aping Evanescence and Killswitch Engage records. Once Only Imagined sounds like that, only far more grating. Most of the tracks adhere to a tired formula of endless ‘dun-dun-da-dun-da-dun-dun’ lockstep banality, which is made all the more irritating by White-Gluz’s powerless, Gossow Lite vocal renderings. Her (rennet-free) cheeseball clean choruses are painfully predictable, and the total lack of adequate rhythm guitar support makes me want to Fed-Ex this band a three-weeks dead fawn with one-ounce clumps of fine Colombian lodged in its eye sockets.
Normally a band like this wouldn’t stick in the craw this much, as the shelf life of things like this generally runs about 18 months, tops. But the sheer pretentiousness of this collective, given their illusions of social relevance in conjunction with their musical shortcomings, is simply astonishing. The projection and encouragement of herd mentality, (in this case through the goading of young, impressionable youths to write their elected officials regarding the Kyoto Protocol and to adopt certain personal health choices) never has been and never fucking will be remotely metal. Heavy metal is the ultimate expression of individualism, defiance, and unregimented power; any attempt at igniting a type of social movement that doesn’t involve the ritual immolation of poseurs has (rightly) been met with a giant middle finger from the discriminating ear. Scrutiny of a band’s subject matter can be deflected via intensity and compelling musicianship (case in point, Arghoslent), but in the case of a decidedly limp, fourth-rate trend-clone such as The Agonist, relevance is but a pipe dream. Soon be sharing the stage with artistic luminaries Enslaved and Arsis on an upcoming tour, The Agonist would take care to recognize the real deal when they see it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fry myself a bacon sandwich, crack open a six-pack of Oktoberfest, and crank some Deströyer 666.
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