The AgonistOrphans

✦✦✦✧ This is an enchanting extreme metal (and then some) album, combining the glossy symphonic sensibilities of Blind Guardian with adroitly placed hints of TesseracT, The Contortionist, and even Protest The Hero and Gojira. Aside from the clever and surprising songwriting, the MVP on this album is unquestionably vocalist Vicky Psarakis, who deftly pulls out all the stops, pivoting from wannabe-operatic to hard rock to cookie monster and back again in a way that should finally free her from predecessor Alissa White-Gluz’s shadow.