THE AGONIST frontwoman Vicky Psarakis spoke to Rock Confidential about the delay in securing a release for the band's sixth studio album, "Orphans", Due on September 20 via Rodeostar Records, the disc has been described as "more extreme, more melodic and more exciting" than its predecessor, 2016's "Five".
Asked what some of the hurdles were that she and her bandmates had to jump to get the record out, Vicky said: "Basically, the main thing is that we didn't have a label at the time. And that is for reasons aside from the music. A lot of things happen that I personally don't deal with at all. I don't even wanna deal with it. I'm just here to write music and sing. Some people out there didn't want us to release this album and we just kept really, really pushing and pushing and we almost considered just releasing it on our own — which isn't a smart business decision. But we were, I think after six months, we were frustrated and sitting on this album that's so good and we couldn't do anything about it. And then finally, Napalm reached out to us and proposed to release it under a sub-label of theirs called Rodeostar. And as far as we're concerned, we're using all the same resources from Napalm — the same team of people, same social media outlets. So we were, like, 'Okay, let's do it.'"
Pressed about who didn't want THE AGONIST to release the album, Vicky said: "I think it's okay if I were to speak openly about it. I'm not one to cause drama but I think for anyone that's out there and watching and kind of seeing what's going on, I think it's fairly obvious that the person that's been trying to hold us back is Alissa [White-Gluz, former vocalist]. In the beginning, she was doing it a lot through interviews and just talking very badly about the band members. That is super awkward for me, because this is a person I've never met in my life, so it's weird for me to be talking about it. There's no knowing how far and to what extent her reach could be to hold this band back. I definitely know some stuff that she's done and other things are just speculation. So, I don't wanna throw that out there, but I will say that she has been trying to kill this band ever since she was fired."
White-Gluz was announced as the new singer of ARCH ENEMY on March 17, 2014. That same day, THE AGONIST revealed that they had recruited Psarakis as Alissa's replacement, saying in a statement that they wished White-Gluz "all the best with ARCH ENEMY and her future endeavors." A day later, Alissa released her own statement in which she claimed that she "had every intention of (and had even started) writing and recording yet another killer album [with THE AGONIST] this year," but explained that her "former bandmates decided to choose a different path." She also said that "the unfortunate decision" to part ways "was made beyond [her] control" and added that she would "always be proud of the three albums [she and THE AGONIST] created since 2005."
Alissa, who co-founded THE AGONIST in 2004 (then known as TEMPEST), had been largely quiet about the circumstances that led to her departure from the band, choosing instead to focus on the touring activities in support of ARCH ENEMY's 2014 album "War Eternal", which marked her recording debut with the latter group. But during an appearance on HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta's official podcast, "The Jasta Show", Alissa aired her side of THE AGONIST split for the first time, saying that she "never in a million fucking years" suspected that she would get kicked out of her own band. She added, "I don't agree with what they did. I don't have respect for what they did," and vowed to never mend fences with her former bandmates. "I'll never talk to them again — ever!" she said. "That was the worst betrayal I've ever felt in my life. They stole a lot from me. It was not right."
THE AGONIST guitarist Danny Marino later responded to Alissa's comments, claiming that "she was playing both sides to have her cake and eat it too" and accusing her of not "factoring in the other four lives in the band and their aspirations."