Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alation Demo Review

Alation - Demo
Self-released, 2010
9/10
Having been blown away upon seeing young Minneapolis upstarts Alation recently (read the show review here), I was somewhat anxious to hear if the recorded output of this four-song demo would confirm my positive thoughts on this exciting band. I’m happy to report that the demo lives up to the power of their live show. Alation offers an original take on modern-sounding female-fronted thrash metal here. Musically, the band melds technical guitar riffs and solos with a predominantly mid-tempo crunch. Comparisons are inevitable, and to me the guitar style of Testament, Iron Maiden, and In Flames shine through at times, but influences are cleverly incorporated in a way that allows Alation to sound familiar yet unique. Vocalist Angel, though, steals the show with a performance that reminds me of the late Dawn Crosby from Fear Of God: emotional, brutal, and full of conviction. You can only appreciate this if you’ve heard the vastly overlooked Within The Veil album from Fear Of God. Angel’s harsh voice is heavy enough to stand up to the music, but it’s her alternating use of this with clear singing and personal lyrics that makes things interesting. Following some tortured-sounding wails from Angel, the first verse of the opening track, “Redemption”, kicks off with a upbeat stomp that brings Testament’s “Souls Of Black” to mind. The thrashier sound of “Bed Of Nails” picks things up a bit, while “Forsaken” features some venomous lines spat out between technical guitar runs and a refreshing, melodic chorus. Closing track “Scarred” is probably the weakest song here, but it holds up well and doesn’t detract from the others in the least. The overall song writing is incredibly strong, and I’m impressed with how quickly Alation has developed an original sound that puts much label-released material to shame. Combine this with the talented guitar work of Stu and Sawyer and the charismatic, bold vocal style of Angel, and Alation is unstoppable. I expect that Alation will be able to quickly build a fanbase, and some choice opening slots for touring acts are certainly deserved. Any metal label scouting for hot, fresh talent need not look any further. You can listen to and purchase these songs plus the awesome track “Aflame” (live video of this song below) directly from Alation’s Myspace page:
Alation will be playing alongside Mushroomhead plus more bands to be announced at Crypticon 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington on Friday, November 5. NOTE: Mushroomhead’s website lists November 6 as their performance date at Crypticon.


Watch Alation perform "Aflame" in Minneapolis on May 21, 2010.
Click photo to see more pictures of Alation (23).

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