Paradeigma is the latest EP by Australian rock/metal act Agnesis. A follow-up to 2018’s In Places We Keep, this new EP is self-described as “four tracks from a band at their most potent.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, it’s a handful of proggy tunes with some odd-but-not-too-odd time signatures and some really impressive vocal harmonies. Paradeigma has bland moments, but the EP, on the whole, is an interesting listen.
Agnesis kicks things off with “Ransack,” easily the most metal tune on Paradeigma. The song’s chugging riffs and pummeling drums contrast well with guitarist/vocalist Daniel Christofferson’s (mostly) smooth vocals. One of my favourite moments on the tune is Christofferson and bassist Josie Crosby’s harmonized vocals overtop of Daniel Johnson’s dissonant guitar chords; the balance between heavy and light is just undeniably cool. Agnesis’ vocals are the highpoint of the EP for me. On songs like “Obolus,” you might think you’re listening to Mike Patton. Christofferson and Crosby have a great handle on vocal melody and manage to display it in a way that doesn’t feel too braggadocious or over the top.
Where Agnesis start to lose me is in how repetitive the music can get. The main riff on “Swamp” is interesting enough the first couple times, but I could’ve used some variation. The eight-minute tune does build to something, but by the time it got there, I was ready to move on to the next. The same goes for Paradeigma’s closing track “Vicissitude.” The classical-sounding guitar melody, while impressive to listen to, never really goes anywhere and could’ve served better as a shorter interlude.
Paradeigma is worth a listen if you’re in the market for some softer prog metal. Agnesis’ instrumentals are melodic but still pack a punch and the vocal harmonies are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. I could have used a little bit more variety, but at just four tracks, there’s not enough time to get truly bored with this EP.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito