Alesana – [Album]

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The mixture of music on Alesana's fourth LP (first for punk stalwarts Epitaph), A Place Where The Sun Is Silent, is unlike that of any one band I’ve ever listened to before. By that I can say that Alesana sounds like a melange of several different styles and influences, all of which come together into a cohesive union – right up until the band overreaches and falls, awkwardly (more on that later).

Alesana have been labeled a post-hardcore band and a metalcore outfit before (two genres I steer clear of listening to for the most part), and built a steady audience on the strength of their approach on albums like Where Myth Fades To Legend and The Emptiness but, this time, the band has reached even further; claimed to be a concept album dealing with an interpretation of Dante’s Inferno, A Place Where The Sun Is Silent amplifies all the sounds Alesana has intermingled before, but also leaves a few of the edges on the grafts present, almost as if the band is begging listeners to check their work. 

…And is that work ever easy to check. From the very opening of “The Dark Wood Of Error,” it's possible to hear a lot of musical elements in this album that were borrowed from old standards; there is some elements of Rush and Yes in the vocals and keyboard work. That's one aspect of A Place Where The Sun Is Silent accounted for, but the meaning in some of the lyrics which carry more of an emo sounding emotionalism is how Alesana brings the sound to a more modern presence. There are a lot of layers of sound being built here that work in great symphony, and this is what probably holds my attention the strongest as songs like “Hand In Hand With The Damned,” “Lullaby Of The Crucified,” “Welcome To The Vanity Faire” and “The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Marionettes” seem to go out of their way to contrast each other, and so build both tension and artistic relief, track-by-track. 

The one discordant element that breaks the charm of the cohesion in their sound for me is the background vocal which comes through as a secondary level death scream/growl. I’m sure if I heard an explanation from the band regarding why they feel it’s important for that element of sound to be included, I’d come to understand it – but I find it discordant and almost laughable on initial listenings.

I’ve listened to A Place Where The Sun Is Silent about three times now and only thought that I’d listen to it once, at first. Now I feel like I’ll listen to it some more, and that I’ll check out a couple of their other albums too – for contrast. I may even try to find some lyric sheets to see if I can get the finer points of the concept around which the album is supposed to be centered figured out.



A Place Where The Sun Is Silent
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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