Review Summary: We wither when we grow up
The more I listen to Allomaternal
, the more I feel that the ending of “Hiraeth” is its most crucial moment. The earliest version of the song, released back in September, lacked this part entirely- the bridge of the song intensified the longer it went on, only to lead abruptly into a sequestered, swirling guitar riff. The conclusion felt unnatural because it was- the final version of the album’s leading single finally does what should’ve happened from the get-go, connecting the dots of its finale with a keen precision. This addition to “Hiraeth” is soft and wistful; it carries restraint, and progresses plainly and lightly. Words are screamed, but they’re placed through a filter, redirected to right outside the song’s spotlight. They exist to elicit emotion, not to conceive it. The song’s conclusion makes waves by causing imperceptible ripples- and, in turn, accentuates a certain kind of patience from which post-hardcore band Stolas could learn.
Just because I say that doesn’t mean I think there’s anything wrong with the Vegas-based group’s sound. It’s the kind of caffeinated caliber that I look for in modern post-hardcore; it’s fast-moving and instantly gratifying rock music that should rightfully make its predecessor Living Creatures
proud. Songs like “Claw Point” come off as polished products of an older formula, but with fresher ingredients. Most notably, lead vocalist Jason Weiche has augmented his delivery in every way, affixing a more aggressive edge to his more dismal verses and a more charismatic croon for the moments that implore it. And when Carlo Marquez isn’t too swamped behind the drumkit on the album (and there are, surprisingly, times when this is the case,) he lends a hand on vocals- he proves his worth, for instance, by supplanting some Bixler-Zavala-esque higher notes into the emotional crux of “Solunar”. On top of this, Allomaternal
provides more variety throughout its runtime than Living Creatures
could ever dream of. While “Proving Grounds” brings to mind an On Letting Go
-era Circa Survive, late album highlight “Losing Wings” recalls the pop-oriented euphoria in which Tides Of Man once dealt in spades. Some songs offer conciliatory passages in their more delicate moments, and others disburse guitar riffs so impregnable that one can’t help but wonder how Stolas do it: the band makes it look like the easiest thing to marry the light and dark, the two elements of their sound that make them who they are.
Still, there’s a particular forthrightness to Stolas’ sound that poses a bit of a dilemma. While the post-hardcore group seems to take pride in recording music it can scrupulously recreate onstage, those sounds have a distinct energy running through them, a singular electrical pulse that renders them a bit exhausting after too many listens. Now that Stolas has released an album that it feels is an accurate representation of its true sound, the band’s next obstacle is deciding whether it wants to channel its energy into crafting moments as subtly wondrous as the conclusion of “Hiraeth”, or if it’d prefer to let it all out via aggressive catharsis- not unlike the wall of noise assembled in the album’s final moments. Noise, more noise, then disintegration.