0 of 1 thought this review was well written
After WillieFisterbut did a negative review on this band, and since he mentioned that the EP was free, I decided to give a try, if only to be able to prove my fellow reviewer wrong. Unfortunately, I agree with him on every count.
Alerion are a female fronted band from the Netherlands, so it’s pretty obvious they’re going to sound like The Gathering. And indeed, their fronting chick sounds quite like Anneke Van Giesbergen. In what concerns everything else, though, this band wishes
they were like The Gathering.
Alerion are a self-proclaimed “female fronted Metal band with a Progressive edge”
. Well, they are female-fronted, and they do play Metal, but I am sort of lost as to where the “progressive” part of their sound is.
Sure, when I first started playing this demo, I was graced with a quite pleasant acoustic track. Estrangement
is reminiscent of the old 80’s thrash intro, and while the guitarists occasionally try to fit too many notes into one space, it is actually quite pleasing. By the end of this short track, my hopes were high and I was champing at the bit for what would come next.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the next track was a bucket of ice-cold water right down my spine. What we get on Hindsight (1976)
is a plodding, messy guitar riff accompanied by worse drumming. Is this the progressive edge, then? I reckon not. Hell, Tom G. Warrior would think this riff was basic. Quorthon would think this riff was basic. Those guys in Darkthrone would think this was basic, for Christ’s sake. And the same can be said for the drumming – not only is it basic, it’s just plain awful. Soon the chick comes in singing, and it’s immediately clear she is no operatic diva. She’s got a more rock-ish type of voice (similar, as noted, to Anneke van Giesbergen) and actually sounds quite pleasant. Her voice drives most of these songs forward, surmounting the awful riffs and the pitiful production, and effectively building some pleasant choruses. Actually, I feel sorry for the band’s choruses, because they’re quite nice and deserved to be in a much better album than this. All these tracks have quite pleasing chorus sections, fun to sing along to, but ultimately marred by the realization that the backing music is So. Damn. Basic
. Additionally, in an attempt to sound “progressive”, the band inserts some too-sudden tempo changes in their songs. These changes aren’t well done; they’re too sudden (we’ll be listening to one riff, and then all of a sudden everything changes completely around) and they feel tacked-on, badly glued to the song, kind of like some parts of old Kirk Hammett solos. And did I mention they’re basic as hell?
This is all the more puzzling once we start listening to the solos. Like the choruses, most of them are actually pretty kick-***. The second solo on 1976
, for example. Or the solo on the following track Ruins
. This raises a further point – if the musicians can actually play, why are their riffs so awful? Surely two guitarists that can pull off solos like these – in a band that brands themselves “progressive” – can come up with some more inventive riffs? To see the full extent of what I’m saying, listen to the backing riff behind the solo on 1976
– that riff is the full extent of the band’s sucky rhythm-guitar work. Really, really frustrating.
What’s worse, the production doesn’t favour the band one iota. It’s just as crappy as everything else, exceedingly thin and dry, and it totally chops off the bass (the bassist might as well have been absent from this recording session) and – thankfully – makes the vocals louder than everything else. Even the (decent) cover of Megadeth’s She-Wolf
suffers from this frustrating problem
All in all, then, I completely agree with Willie: this is a very poor record, and the only reason I forfeit the 1.5 rating is because of their choruses, the solos and the decent Megadeth cover. But there is no doubt this band has a long way to go. You shouldn’t really go into a recording studio before you’re sure that you know what you are doing.
- Good choruses
- Some good solos
- The chick can sing
- Basic, plodding riffs
- Awful drumming
- Pitiful production
- No bass