Review Summary: Alesana pick up their game, but still have to build on what they have.
When ‘The Emptiness’ was released in early 2010, it showed promise. Alesana had moved away from their old, outdated sound found on ‘Where Myth Fades To Legend’ and crafted a decent all-round album that proved they could write great music (see: ‘Annabel’), but was ultimately let down by nothing truly standing out. After some touring, and a break to rest up, they went into the studio in early 2011, showcased a few singles, and released ‘A Place Where The Sun Is Silent’ in October 2011. Is it the advancement many wanted, or a step in the wrong direction?
The answer is simple; yes, Alesana have changed up their style, and crafted a truly different album. What holds it down, however, is it’s reduction of screams and it’s inability to provide an album that is great all-round.
As you are welcomed with the intro song ‘The Dark Wood Of Error’, many would have immediately written it off as just like their previous album, just with more spoken word parts (now in Latin!). However, after sitting through Shawn and his sister singing a mini duet whilst this is happening, the listener is introduced to ‘A Forbidden Dance’, and the immediate realisation is this; Alesana have not only changed up their sound, but have increased the production value. Guitars soar all across the album, and many of the riffs and melodies are very memorable, minus a few songs.
Although the guitars have been ramped up, the bass, sadly, has not. The bass is usually lost within the guitars, screaming, singing and drums. Whilst talking about drums, the drumming ability of Jeremy is truly shown here, with him being able to show off his skill with the sticks on more than a few occasions. The drums are never the focus (with that being taken by the guitars) but shine through enough to grab the listener’s attention.
Dennis has less of an impact here; with Shawn taking more of an important roll. This isn’t a bad thing however. Shawn, although never regarded as the greatest singer, shows off his singing capabilities, wowing the listener on more than a few occasions. Gladly, there is no ‘You said this would be forever!’ scream from him, but he does scream a couple of times.
The further you get into the record however, the more it drags on. The album clocks in at just over an hour, and although the hour allows Alesana to get through the inspiration for the album (the poem The Inferno by Dante Alighieri), it leaves the listener fatigued when it’s finally over, and although a few standout tracks (Circle VII, The Fiend, The Temptress) keep the listener intrigued, they may give up on the album for staying well past it’s time.
Although Alesana have again refused to craft an all-round album, the places where they have paid the most attention to stand out, and give the listener an overall enjoyable experience. Some parts of the album feel weak, and the album does have a long run time, but Alesana have still made an album that will please old fans well garnering new ones.