Alucard
After Dark


3.5
great

Review

by Joe Costa USER (34 Reviews)
November 18th, 2007 | 19 replies | 4,941 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Self described "shredcore" band. No, they aren't lying.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Technical and melodic punk is probably one of the fastest growing and most popular substylings of the genre today. After really delving into the sound with Strung Out, I exhausted myself searching for every similar band that I could. Belvedere, Early A Wilhelm Scream (prior to the release of the astounding Career Suicide), and early Lagwagon were all in heavy rotation for months and months. However, just when I thought I had searched every last nook and cranny, a group of friends of mine introduced me to Alucard, and their 2006 effort After Dark.

Alucard is actually a bit of fresh air though compared to some of the other bands out there. Whereas many bands seem to take cues from solely one style of metal, Alucard throws in just about every last one you could imagine short of black metal. Slayer guitar riffs and a pseudo-glam solo dominate the title track, while Unearth-styled chugging and pinch harmonics pepper ”Peasants to Pawns”, until guitarist Mike Supina rolls in with the most well constructed solo Herman Li wishes he could have pulled out of his ass. Hell, even ”Resignation Song”, one of the albums strongest moments, is replete with jazzy clean guitar riffing that would impress even the most discerning player.

However, for all of the metal leanings scattered through the album, it is a punk album at heart and stays true to that. Melodic and catchy guitars over breakneck drumming is basically the standard fare for After Dark and, in this case, it’s not a bad thing at all. The band plays technical music that is still catchy enough to remain palatable for just about any listener. Singer Colin Mattson has a pleasant voice and proves quite capable to push it all over the place. From the dark and sinister sound of the title track, to his heartwarming vocals on the acoustic dirge ”Summer’s Coming”, he fits the band well and makes the album more enjoyable because of it.

Where After Dark falters though, is in the songwriting department. Mattson is a perfectly capable lyricist, dealing mostly with relationships but avoiding being cliché and instead coming off as quite honest and sincere. However, the construction of the songs can be really overbearing at times. Where punk songs usually succeed by keeping songs fairly concise, most of the tracks here average deep into three minutes, and usually close to four. Many of the songs tend to suffer from just feeling over stuffed and too long for their own good. Where a song like ”Run to Extremes” would be a perfect song, it is marred by the fact that just as it feels like it should be concluding, the band deems it necessary to go into some crazy, wankish hair-metal solo for the third time.

Production-wise, the album isn’t really outwardly bad so much as it is the result of someone who liked to play around with pro-tools a lot. The guitar tones, as a result of being so heavy, are so glossed over that it’s hard to believe they weren’t done bar by bar during the recording process. In fact, aside from Mattson’s soaring vocals, everything else is fairly downplayed. The solid drumming is hard to be impressed by sitting so low in the mix, where the bass is completely unnoticeable the full way through.

However, After Dark is really a strong debut, loaded with tons of potential. Aside from the issues with production and song structure, this is a band loaded with a good deal of talent and a strong drive. In the end though, the shredding technicality from both Supina and partner Ryan Collins, and the powerful lyricism and voice of Mattson overpower the flaws by a good margin and produce a pretty kickass record. Now if only more punk bands would shred like this…

Recommended tracks: RC, Resignation Song, Summer’s Coming, There With You



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user ratings (1)
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First one in a REALLY long time. Be gentle. This was totally spur of the moment.

Willie
Moderator
November 19th 2007



15864 Comments


I'm not familiar with any of your other reviews... but this one is good...
The band sounds like something I'd be into... from your description they almost sound like a technical version of "A Day to Remember".

Digging: Sadistik - Ultraviolet

Willie
Moderator
November 19th 2007



15864 Comments


Listening to their Myspace page, I was right and wrong... I was right about them being something I'd be into, but wrong about them sounding like "A day to Remember".

ToWhatEnd
November 19th 2007



3172 Comments


You intro paragraph pisses me off because I still haven't seen The Swellers live. fAil! Good review, I remember checking these guys out when they were on tour with The Swellers and thought they were legit. Didn't even realize you hadn't reviewed in forever and a day, that's nuts.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2007



6084 Comments


name dropping ITR

Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really name drop hoping people will check out that review more than they already do. That, and I like having cr00sh points.

ITR?

Altmer
November 19th 2007



5652 Comments


in this review I guess

ASberg
November 19th 2007



2161 Comments


i like the name, alucard. guess they got it from castlevania were draculas son is named alucard.

Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good call Altmer.

Also Sigur Ros??

I am impressed.

spoon_of_grimbo
November 19th 2007



2240 Comments


just been on myspace for a bit of a listen. i prefer my tech-punk a little less poppy, but i'm still considering getting this album, it's pretty solid. the vocoder effect on his vocals in "snapshot" though? no, no, and thrice no!

i don't really see the first paragraph as namedropping, i mean yeah you said you've met said bands, but it genuinely seemed like you're just trying to expose them to more people, rather than harping on about how they're your "bros" as some might. i can respect that, nice one. i'm pos voting this review btw, if i hadn't already given that away lol!

Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dunno, I like how they are techy without being too weighed down. Nice and lighthearted is cool for me, plus it's a bit of a change of pace from others. Still, I think they can probably follow this up with something a lot better. Thanks to everyone.

cbmartinez
November 19th 2007



2525 Comments


You know, I was really close to saying this is a good review but wow that intro is just offensively pretentious and gay, I can't bring myself to do it

SubtleDagger
November 19th 2007



737 Comments


So I listened to stuff on their myspace for no good reason
This sounds hilariously poppy, if anything the only metal I'm hearing sounds like run-of-the-mill mallcore and the rest is shamefully pop-punky, and not like good pop-punk, like typical crap
The fact that there are soaring vocal hooks in every song is just ludicrous, I mean how can you listen to this and hear anything worth a damn, or anything that hasn't been done by a thousand bands already

Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's still fun shit. And I enjoy it. What's your point? If you don't hear an obvious metal influence in the riffs, I can't say that I totally trust your judgment.

And yeah I don't like the intro either, changing it. I couldn't come up with anything else =/

SubtleDagger
November 19th 2007



737 Comments


My point is that stuff you say in this review is just ridiculous given the band's music

Hell, even ”Resignation Song”, one of the albums strongest moments, is replete with jazzy clean guitar riffing that would impress even the most discerning player.
Nothing anyone plays on this track impresses me in the slightest, nor is it even that jazzy, and no I'm really not that discerning
A tech-metal-influenced punk band

The band plays technical music that is still catchy enough to remain palatable for just about any listener.
I didn't hear a single thing in any song that was really technical at all, there were a very VERY few speedy solo parts but they were rare and not anything technical or fast enough to be thrown around with Herman Li or shredding at all, and definitely not enough to be called technical metal-influenced

You bring up how they shred and call themselves shredcore like five times but seriously I heard maybe a few lines I would even concede to be shredding, the rest is like maybe on par with Darkest Hour speed, i.e. metalcore/mallcore

Except of course, the whole thing is so poppy we're talking run-of-the-mill mallcore/popcore hereThis Message Edited On 11.19.07

Intransit
November 19th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cool. Glad you at least read it.

Oh and changed the intro. Gripes about how my writing is lack luster are appreciated. This Message Edited On 11.19.07

JumpTheF**kUp
July 1st 2008



2710 Comments


I want to listen to this purely because of Mike Supina.
brb, pillaging internetz

CushMG15
August 1st 2008



1802 Comments


Good review. I checked these guys out after I heard that Mike was filling in for Chris of A Wilhelm Scream, because lets face it, AWS is sick.

That being said, this is pretty solid and enjoyable. However, I hear you about the production and songwriting fo sho.

Intransit
November 29th 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I used to like this a lot better but now the overlong song structures just grate really hard.



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