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TRACK LIST: 1. Dreaming in Waves 2:31 2. Triton's Horn 9:24 3. Forty Days at Sea 6:20 4. Elysium 3:29 5. The Great Bird 8:22 6. Ambush 3:44 7. Dark Inception 2:21 8. The Chambers 6:45 9. VII 4:28 10. Ashes to Angels 2:37 11. The Keeper 5:31 12. Last Dash 6:04 LINEUP: Kyle Alexander – vocals; guitars Ivan Recinos – guitars’ vocals Dean Greco – bass; synthesizers; vocals Andrew Van Der Voort – drums, percussion; b/vox With: A few more backing vocalists
Prolusion. The Canadian foursome ALYEUS was formed in 2009. "Forty Days at Sea" is their debut album, and was self-released in the fall of 2013. The band describes this as the first of three productions in a concept album trilogy, and represents the second chapter of the story in this planned album cycle, if I have understood the background information correctly.
Analysis. Those with a soft spot for conceptual creations appear to have quite a bit to look forward to from this young, talented band. As this is a band that appears to draw inspirations from a fairly wide variety of sources, with Pink Floyd and Mastodon possibly representing the most extreme on either side, this is a band that should also have a fairly broad appeal. When that is said, neither of the above mentioned bands come across as providers of vital ingredients to the style explored on this production, although trace elements of the latter do appear from time to time. There are primarily three bands I'd select among the multitude mentioned in connection with this band that I think merits a mention. One of them is Rush, whose influence comes across mainly in the use of compact but harde edged guitar riffs, nifty, elegant drum patterns and a nice sounding bass guitar. While the sound of the latter may have similarities to Geddy Lee, the style and delivery as such have a stronger resemblance to what Steve Harris have been doing in Iron Maiden for almost 4 decades now however, and there are also certain guitar elements as well as some structural details alongside the overall sound explored on this production that have some similarities to this classic metal band. At last there is a slight streak of the alternative about this band, some quirky maneuvers and again occasional structural details that most likely will sound familiar to fans of a band like Coheed and Cambria. Alyeus mainly explores within the perimeter of this framework, creating an atmospheric, compelling and fairly smooth variety of music with progressive tendencies on the borderline between hard rock and metal. Rarely as intense as purebred metal bands often tend to be, but often darker and with more drive than you'd expect from a hard rock band. Occasional forays into Mastodon-oriented territories occur, but also light, elegant and nervous textures of a post rock orientation make an appearance or two. The band is good at balancing their material with contrasting elements, dampened instrumental details and other features that maintain tension and interest in a good way, and if anything, this production merits a description as solid. From gentle plucked guitar details to psychedelic sounds, from start-to-stop staccato riff constructions to dark, powerful riff barrages, flavored with occasional atmospheric keyboard details, harmony based guitar solo runs and dampened guitar overlays. The variety is present throughout, with a quality rhythm section and a skilled lead vocalist with a light timbre who has certain similarities to the likes of Jon Anderson and Geddy Lee as the icing on the cake. I didn't find any compositions that came across as truly stunning however, but that is probably also a bit too much to demand from a fairly new band releasing their first studio production.
Conclusion. "Forty Days at Sea" is a CD that should have a fairly broad appeal amongst those who enjoy music on the borderline between hard rock and metal. Progressive rock tendencies and alternative rock details with a gentle metal coating and a certain Iron Maiden-tinged charm pretty much summarize the music, and if that combination used to explore a conceptual story sounds interesting then Alyeus is a band that merits a check.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 14, 2015
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