Review Summary: With passion and conviction blatantly obvious in their music lyrics, Alesana produces an album that is nothing short of remarkable.
When first hearing a band like Alesana, it’s easy to understand why they’re rapidly growing in popularity throughout the country. With a hectic touring schedule, and their signing to Fearless Records, Alesana is becoming an underground success in the Screamo genre of music.
Being more a fan of death metal and thrash, I didn’t have much expectations from Alesana, but I was easily blown away by their sound. Although some would say they’re stereotypical in terms of guitar and piano riffs and the switching of singing and screaming, it all blends so perfectly together to form one of the better screamo bands that I’ve ever heard.
The vocals are what stand out the most on this album, let alone in the band themselves. The two main vocalists of the band, Dennis Lee and Shawn Milke do a great job blending together to form a perfect harmony of screams and singing. Lee, being the screamer of the group, does a fantastic with his vocal duties, and it is inevitable to notice it on tracks such as Ambrosia and Alchemy Sounded Good at the Time. Lee has the ability to go from the above standard screams commonly associated with the genre, and adds in Death screams that match the low end riffs of the guitars in many of the songs. Along with Lee, Milke does a fantastic job of hitting perfect highs, to some lower notes to match Lee’s spine shivering screams. The two are able to harmonize the screams and singing on a lot of the songs, especially in the album’s finale, Nero’s Decay. Even on the minute long opener of piano and voices, Icarus, the screams and the singing both show they have an important and essential part in the band.
Onto the instruments, arguably what makes this band such a driving force. Alesana has 3 guitars, each playing different parts, but all important to the other. Milke, the singer also plays guitar while singing, and the other two guitarists, Patrick Thompson and Adam Ferguson all play a role each important to each other. The lead guitar sticks out on many of the tracks, adding a creative and faster feel to the music, something that not a lot of screamo bands are able to pull off successfully. The lead guitar is hard to miss in many of the songs, especially Pathetic, Ordinary and the most metal song on the album, Alchemy Sounded Good at the Time. On some of the softer songs of the album, the guitars switch to a clean sound, Milke takes the lead vocals, and he plays piano along to add a softer feel to Alesana, in songs such as The Third Temptation of Paris, proving they’re capable of being much more than a screamo band. The drums on this band aren't
typical from a screamo band, they play a much more important role in keeping a fast and driving tempo and every little thing from the sometimes fast double bass to every cymbal hit makes this band even more impressive with the blend of impressive drums, crunching guitars, and the harmony of vocals.
Alesana is a band that shows their emotion in their music. From Lee’s gut wrenching screaming to Milke’s almost anguish feeling vocals, the voices of Alesana set the mood and one can’t help but feel what the songs are about. The lyrics in most of these songs are yes, typical emo or screamo lyrics, but they just seem to have more depth and emotion to them then say Hawthorne Heights or From First to Last. The lyrics are something that everyone can relate to, but can’t put into the exact words that Lee and Milke can. There’s more conviction feeling in these lyrics than in most others, and it shows in every song.
Overall, Alesana’s On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax is clearly one of the better screamo albums that have ever been produced. This band is the future of the genre, not another clone of the unfortunate Hawthorne Heights, and if this band can produce more albums like OFWVW, they can be the biggest name that the hardcore/screamo scene has ever experienced.
Alchemy Sounded Good at the Time
Tilting the Hourglass
Congratulations, I Hate You