Review Summary: What what, in the butt.
“On Frail Wings of Vanity”, released in 2006, was the record that introduced me to Alesana, which in its wake was the band’s only full length alongside their EP. I had heard several songs from this LP prior to acquiring it in its entirety which struck me as pretty bad. During this time I generally self-indulged in music that elicited some different type of emotional outpour which is why Alesana wasn't up my alley at all. Why I ended up downloading the album is still considered unfathomable by me to this day, but even more unfathomable was the fact that I actually jumped on the ‘bandwagon’ and downloaded their 2008 follow-up “Where Myth Fades to Legend”.
I can see where “OFWoV” would have some sort of intrigue at first with its catchiness and raw, approachable sound but, also its quite blatant that this intrigue would quickly fade with repeated listens. I went on to acquire their newest release "Where Myths Fade…" a few days after its release date hoping there would be some welcome change or newfound maturity to Alesana’s sound. What the *** was I thinking? Now I sit here, pondering over the decent-leveled sort of the praise that the band is receiving in the two other reviews posted here. I’m actually doing this while listening to the album. In doing that I’ve in turn had the urge to write down my thoughts, as if to convert my raging masochism into words and trap its horrible nature on this page. I’ve implied before, but I will say it now; Alesana is a joke, and somehow I think if I grabbed a couple of 3rd graders, my grandma who would cough up a lung faster than she’d sing, and a mule with aids, I could probably make a better band than Alesana.
I mean, aside from the fact that, let’s say, Alesana would have the same sort of appeal as a band like Set Your Goals, both of them ascertain this appeal on very different levels. A track like “Goonies Never Say Die” has that raw, youthful energy to make you want to experience all the liberty, for the lack of better word, attached to the early stages of life. Alesana on the other hand completely comply with this image themselves. I’m guessing if anyone didn’t know better, they’d think the whole band was a bunch of pre-pubescent rebels. Unfortunately they’re not, failing on all levels in conveying the same healthy image that Set Your Goals does. If you’ve seen the music video for “Ambrosia” then you’d probably know it has the same effect on you as watching Samwell’s “What What, In the Butt” or seeing a black metal chick on the street. However, Alesana also has that little side-effect where you basically want to snip some of your pubes off and stick it under your chin to make a beard. Clearly this is what happens when youtube is careless about their lack of censorship.
Part of this self-destructive pattern that a listener like I, who has happened to catch a glimpse of Alesana’s crew, go though is a result of Adam “Huck” Ferguson. Aside from being dignified with the ability to create his own single called “Ferguson-licious”, the “Huck” has a name as strange as his character, and a voice that’s really as feminine as his look. Look at the definition of “huck”; a distinctive absorbent weave? I mean sure, his bizarre way of dancing is surely reminiscent of herpes-absorbed piece of cotton, but how can anyone take this band seriously. For all those of you thinking my quips are off-base, let us at last take a look at the first song off this self-gratifying record. “This Is Usually the Part Where People Scream” starts off with lead guitars being harmonized, and then the drumming kicks in. So far it isn’t that bad since I’m actually just bored in lieu of wanting to cremate my balls. However, Dennis Lee starts to scream, and this is the part where my hand-picked 3rd graders would kick in and scream until they dropped the overwhelming truth; Dennis lacking badly in the testosterone front. Shortly after, the “Huck” enters, and it’s a massacre.
While many singers practice years on end just to be competent in the music industry, Ferguson is oblivious: or incapable rather, throwing higher notes here and there very mindlessly. I don’t think he has one vocal line without a fault in pitch, or that just doesn’t sound like someone is stepping on his scrotum. If my voice broke, and I threw in a Jacko accent while I sang and dropped dem beatz by clonking a ladle on some porcelain cup, I’d still get some form of respect from Japanese hipsters and/or Lewis. Well, before I get to the rhythm section, I have to mention Alesana’s guitar arsenal. They’re loaded alright: 3 guitarists, including Ferguson on one of them. Now you must be thinking, wow, this is like when I first heard Pg. 99 had 9 band members! On a serious note, if Nate Newton from Converge did a bass solo, it probably would make more noise than if every guitarist in Alesana played 6th string based power chords. They’re hilariously inefficient, more so with regards to the bassist who can practically never be heard, notwithstanding if I turn bass booster on. Do they even have a bassist? Oh yeah, Shane Crump! But obviously he can’t have a very important role in the band because he isn’t one of the vocalists or three guitarists. Shawn Milke is my final mention in the vocals, well not so much vocals as the sound of a clown getting mauled by a bear. You can’t even tell the difference between who is shrieking because they all sound exactly the same. I could have sworn they all got cloned or something and were sent on a destructive sonic mission to earth, where the dozen or so deaths a year in the world are now as a result of either Alesana or Aiden and the sheer holocaust pouring into the victims speakers.
Luckily the only decent thing that the band has to offer is their drummer Jeremy Bryan, who is still really bad considering all he does is experiment on his snare drum. Anyways, that said, I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel when I first played “Sweetheart, You Are Sadly Mistaken” which starts off promisingly with some alternate picking, and a second guitar. But, then it gets heavy and Dennis starts screaming and I regret starting this review. These guys have no sense of self-evaluation at all. Ferguson goes into a falsetto every ***ing 10 seconds and it makes me want to clog my ears with a bunch of forest-picked mushrooms. The band also has no sense of dynamics or climax, because they basically go mid-tempo the whole way as if it’s one giant Atreyu chorus with more squeaky vocals. Heck, even the intro to a Damien Rice song is more climactic than this trash. “And They Call This Tragedy” then ensues to taint my speakers and I’m wondering how many nickels I would have for the times I’ve seen the word tragedy in a faux-emo song title, and then I go on to think about how listening to Alesana really isn’t a tragedy but more like an apocalypse. It’s even worse when you consider the fact that every song sounds exactly the same, and so does every singer, whilst every instrument is one big cacophony.
Writing this review has definitely been somewhat of a challenge, and in many ways it has made me think. It has been a challenge because I had to find about 30 different synonyms for the word “atrocious”, which obviously applies to everything Alesana has ever made. It made me think because when I listen to the record it makes me think what I would do if I met Alesana in person and it reminds me to make sure I bring a sharp carrot with me every time they’re touring in a city close to me, or incase I see some dude wearing an Alesana t-shirt so I can bring him to justice. Thank you and goodnight sputnik.