Review Summary: The vocals are fantastic, the music is fine tuned and the lyrics are politically agressive. What else could you ask for?
Being labeled as metal anymore in the younger music scene is usually a big turn away, people think of it as boring. The “-core’ has taken over, and if you don’t feature that little word in your genre people automatically judge and just don’t give you a chance. This all isn’t a fact, just a personal opinion of a close friend of mine after showing him the Cleveland, Ohio based metal group Affiance. Shaking his head as metal slipped off my tongue, his opinion changed quickly after playing a track or two off their debut album No Secret Revealed
. As well fitting as a genre as metal is to describe Affiance, they have a tendency of branching off and varying their sound at times, and that’s what works best with this band and their album.
The album opens with the voice of a man, as he angrily describes the laziness and wrongdoings of America and it’s citizens, and as generic as an introduction as it may seem, it’s a powerful atmospheric set up for whats to come next. ‘Call To the Warrior’ emphasizes on the anger behind the introduction, starting off furious enough to get your blood racing right off the bat. Dennis Tvrdik is a man with one powerful voice, he completely steals the show for a good portion of the album. It’s certainly a one of a kind vocal performance, not one you’d expect to arrive in the generic world of modern music. Ranging from his lower, rasper voice to his falsetto style highs he has a talent that’s worth mentioning when talking about the group.
Affiance is a group filled with talented individuals, as every little element the band brings out is certainly worth talking about. The groups two guitar players bring some strong additions to the music, always managing to pull out something technical and fun without it feeling out of place. Whether it’d be a killer solo or a little riff to improve the overall sound of a verse, these guys know how to impress on the strings. Throughout all their madness though they have that ability to be simple, as every now and then the band breaks it all down and adds yet another utterly familiar element to their sound. There are breakdowns here, and they come around every once in a while, but not all of them work out so well. ‘Nostra Culpa’ features a quick little breakdown, while ‘Call to the Warrior’ creates a few little ones that feel useless and forced.
There isn’t really too much you can do to explain what this album delivers, since the songs are all built and placed the same without being exactly the same. For once, we have an album with absolutely no filler what so ever. Every song features something that makes it different from another one. Lyrically, this is a politically attacking album, dealing with American politics and flaws we commit as Americans. Using anthem like styles to make a point to it’s listeners, Affiance does a fantastic job from a writing point of view. Nothing goes without it’s problems though, and No Secret Revealed
are one of those albums you don’t find yourself visiting again and again. Instead, a little period of time in between listens tends to work better than just letting the album play straight for days on end.
It’s a refreshing thing to find a band that wants to stand out in their genre, and they have grabbed fans and doubters of the metal genre. They bring this amount of energy, and carefully orchestrate some ear grabbing tunes on an album built to separate themselves from any and everything else. Some people may find the vocals a little tough to get used to and the songs feeling repetitive after a while, but I found this to be a well made album. It could’ve been better and a little more varied in sound, but it’s something the band can work on in due time.