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Does history guide you, or do you set out to change it?—Business Suits and Combat Boots
The Agonist (formerly known as The Tempest) is a Canadian Melodic Death Metal/metalcore band from Montreal, characterised by topical lyrics, complex guitar work and a female lead who can sing (well) in both clean and growling vocals.
Their lyrics often consider themes that you might not expect from a death metal band, such as animal rights, social injustice and other contemporary issues.
Their current line-up is:
- Alissa White-Gluz - Vocals, Lyrics
- Danny Marino - Guitar
- Chris Kells - Bass, Background Growls
- Simon McKay - Drums
- Pascal "Paco" Jobin - Guitar
Former members include:
- Andrew Tapley - Guitar
- Chris Adolph - Guitar on tour (2009)
- Justin Deguire - Guitar on tour (2011)
So far they have released three studio albums and one EP:
- Once Only Imagined (2007)
- Lullabies For The Dormant Mind (2009)
- The Escape (EP) (2011)
- Prisoners (2012)
And they have music videos for:
- Business Suits And Combat Boots (2007)
- And Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep (2009)
- Thank You Pain (2009)
The Agonist provide examples of:
- A Good Name for a Rock Band - "Agonist" means initiator/starter of something (fitting in with the band's topical song lyrics).
- Air Guitar - How Danny comes up with his riffs.
- All Men Are Perverts - Simon, apparently. He tried hitting on Alissa at his audition. Maybe it's because All Drummers Are Animals?
- All Your Powers Combined - Their third album Prisoners combines the heaviness of Imagined with the progressive elements of Lullabies and adds a few creative twists of its own. It is generally regarded as the band's best work so far, and certainly their most mature.
- Almighty Janitor - Chris, who provides both bass backing for Danny and Paco, and vocal backing for Alissa.
- Altum Videtur - Memento Mori and Globus Hystericus.
- Apathetic Citizens - Alissa's Berserk Button.
- Audience Participation Song - Thank You Pain is an audience participation video casting Alissa as a defendent, death-growl Alissa as a judge, and the audience as the jury.
- Black Sheep Hit - Waiting Out The Winter was composed by Simon.
- The Cameo - Quite a few, including Youri from Unhuman and Frank Marino from Mahogany Rush. Even their producer got in a few sneaky Metal Screams.
- And in turn Alissa has cameo'd in songs for Synastry and Plasmarifle. You can see her wearing a Plasmarifle t-shirt at the end of the Business Suits music video.
- Concept Video - Thank You Pain (verging on surreal).
- Costume Porn
- Distracted By the Shiny - Stopping in the middle of an interview to point out a typo on a passing van.
- Dramatic Ellipsis - ...And Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep
- Dress Rehearsal Video - Eulogies, Birds Elope
- Epic Rocking - Ideomotor
- Ethereal Choir - Swan Lake
- Also in the background of a few other songs.
- Foreshadowing - Synopsis, the slightly mind screwy intro from their first album, contains a distorted vocal excerpt of Rise and Fall.
- Genre Busting - The band has variously been described as Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore (due to their use of breakdowns and alternating clean/harsh vocals) and Deathcore, and they also have some progressive elements.
- Gratuitous French - At the end of Martyr Art, and at the start of Revenge of the Dadaists.
- Green Aesop
- Humans Are Flawed - A theme in many of their songs (Thank You Pain, among others).
- Alternatively, Humans Are Bastards - Rise and Fall, The Sentient.
- Indecipherable Lyrics - On occasion. Alissa is aware of this, and has stated that she thinks it would be cool if someone made a misheard lyrics video of them.
- Last-Note Nightmare - In Everybody Wants You (Dead). A Mind Screw-y Subdued Section is followed by a discordant wall of noise with Alissa screaming in the background.
- LOLcats - Alissa is a fan.
- Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair - Discussed in Globus Hystericus.
- Master Race - The concept is venomously attacked in Born Dead, Buried Alive.
- Metal Scream
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness - 8/9.
- Morality Ballad - Lots of them.
- My Car Hates Me - Their touring van, "the blue hornet", has a habit of breaking down in the worst possible places.
- Tonight Someone Dies - They are going to get their revenge by destroying it on film, and are taking suggestions from fans as to how they should do it.
- Non-Appearing Title
- Pimped-Out Dress - Alissa, in Thank You, Pain.
- Precision F-Strike
- The Power of Friendship - Alissa apparently had some creative difficulties writing for their third album, so Simon stepped in to help out. The results, as can be seen, were awesome.
- Protest Song - Again, lots of them.
- Serial Escalation- An ongoing competition between Alissa's whiplash vocals, Danny's Epic Riffs and Simon's ludicrously fast drumming.
- Sixth Ranger - Pascal Jobin, who joined the band in 2010 (and formerly Chris Adolph, who was their official touring guitarist forr a while).
- Soprano and Gravel - In this case, both provided by the same singer.
- Subdued Section - Both within the context of the album (Chiaroscuro for Imagined, Swan Lake for Lullabies) and within individual songs (such as Void of Sympathy, Chlorpromazine, and several songs on Prisoners).
- Talking to Himself - Thank You Pain
- Technician vs. Performer - A mild example: Danny comes up with intricate and technical riffs, to which Paco adds shredding solos.
- This Is Sparta - In Trophy Kill ("Fuck! You! Fucking hypocrite!")
- Throw It In - The "false start" at the beginning of Eulogies is an out-take that they decided to keep.
- Titled After the Song - Inverted with The Tempest, which was the original band name.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change - Chlorpromazine, where Alissa's growl rises to a shriek after the bridge.
- Walking Disaster Area - An alarming number of their gigs have coincided with various natural disasters.
Alissa: I feel like as a band we are sync'd with nature in the worst way possible.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle - Born Dead Buried Alive sounds like it's about to end on a long, fading guitar chord, then cuts back in and plays for another 30 seconds.