Alaskan
Adversity; Woe


4.0
excellent

Review

by Arche USER (91 Reviews)
December 29th, 2015 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alaskan bludgeon, raze, and then make you stop and think.

Human history is filled with disasters. Air disasters; natural disasters; disasters during wartime; disasters during peace; disasters that could have been prevented and disasters that were unforeseeable. In their debut full-length, Alaskan focus on four such events from around the globe, all having taken place within 5 years of the album's release - 2007's Flight 3054 (in 'Congonhas', the name of the airport), 2010's Pike River Mine disaster ('Atarau', the nearest settlement), the Atlas Creek pipe explosion in 2006, and the collapse of a hostel in Mecca, also in 2006. These are dealt with as powerful vignettes, written as first hand accounts of the horrific events as they take place, and are the reason Adversity; Woe is the sobering tale that it is.

Adversity; Woe is such a commanding listen because the Canadians are able to strike the fine balance between monolithic heaviness and more vulnerable traits so well. Combining the aggressive, granular sounds so synonymous with the sludge genre and post-metal's more 'pretty', progressive tendencies, the result is something that is undeniably heavy, yet is never so in such a way that seems volatile. Exemplifying this is the vocal performance; an occasionally indecipherable roar that complements the bottom-heavy riffing perfectly, yet is able to carry the emotion of pained anguish convincingly and importantly concurrently. Musically the album is stunning, with melancholic waves of guitars that pierce through the distorted bass and drums that cut through when needed, highlighting and in doing so being the main points of emphasis throughout. What the lengthier tracks lack in individuality is more than made up for in passion, and the total running time (a dab less than 40 minutes) means that Alaska don't outstay their welcome any longer than necessary.

Whether or not this is partially a product of the artwork's influence is debatable, but Adversity; Woe carries a vaguely nautical feel maintained through all 7 tracks. In some, this is lent by a rolling sway given to the riffs (prominent in the first half of leviathan 'Congonhas' and 'Mecca'). In the softer tracks, the elements that bring this maritime air are more subtle - be it the mournful, foghorn-like ending to intro track 'Realisation', or the beautiful whalesong heard throughout acoustic break 'Interruption'.

The sad thing about the world is that, as there are so many disasters and wrongdoings, many simply go unreported, buried as 'just another statistic' and bear significance only to those in the immediate vicinity. This is a self-defence mechanism in many ways, though an uncomfortable one when you stop to think about it. Alaskan bring just four to the forefront, commemorated in music, and in doing so provoke a painful but perhaps necessary way of thinking.



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user ratings (33)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
December 29th 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you've got a few minutes, take a little time to read about the four events that form the subject of this album. Any comments, corrections and whatnot welcome as always. Name-your-price download and stream here -> https://alaskan.bandcamp.com/album/adversity-woe

EvoHavok
December 29th 2015


7708 Comments


Nice review, Aaron! It's mayhaps only fitting that you posted this now in regards to the sad news that surfaced today.

Archelirion
December 29th 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! :D Hmm, perhaps not as the magnitude of the two things would be different, though it might have been the slightly morose feeling I had that got me to write this.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2015


26321 Comments


I am not typically a fan of this kind of post-metal/hardcore type stuff, but if you like this I'm sure it will be worth my time. Your second paragraph really sold me on it. Really great review, I hope you're considering applying for contributor this upcoming promotions cycle, you deserve it. Pos!

Digging: Sallow Moth - The Larval Hope

Archelirion
December 29th 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks a ton :D I've been playing with the idea for a while now and I think I'm gonna go for it, no harm in applying at any rate. Roughly when are they?

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2015


26321 Comments


I'm pretty sure they happen right after new years

Archelirion
December 29th 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice :3 Let us know what you think of this if you do decide to give it a listen!

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2015


11763 Comments


Cool review Aaron, or should I say Arch (: you made this sound strangely appealing with the maritime feeling so I'll give this a shot.

Digging: Count Shirintsu - Spirit of the Earth

Archelirion
December 31st 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, thanks man! And either works, I don't mind :] The maritime feeling isn't a colossal component - don't go expecting some sea shanties and whatnot - but I think it's more in the way the music is constructed and moves, if that makes sense. Hope you like it!

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2015


11763 Comments


Yo ho ho, nah I'm kinda expecting something like Ghosts Secular Haze, or is that too hopeful?

Archelirion
December 31st 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean, the feel of Secular Haze is a little bit more jocular than on here, but I'd say the kind of sway is seen in parts of this (only with much more distorted guitars ;])

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2015


11763 Comments


Alright sounds cool, I guess I'll know for sure when I listen to it



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