Album Review: Alaya – Thrones
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: March 17, 2014
Label: Basick Records
Length: 43 minutes, 13 tracks
Genre: Handsome and thoughtful melodic prog/tech metal
Recommended for fans of: Periphery, Muse, Karnivool, Protest The Hero, TesseracT
Description: One excellent debut after another. The first four months of this year present a large number of releases from promising, upcoming bands. Centiment, Servers, Zoax, The Kindred, Intervals, Echoes, only to name a few. And now we can add Alaya to that collection. Yes, it was definitely worth the wait. Buy it!
The Chicago-based band Alaya signed to Basick Records and announced this album back in 2012, teased us mercilessly with their brilliant first single ‘Inside’ and have now got everything together for the anticipated release of their full length ‘Thrones’. If you’re tired of the constant stream of new bands with harsh, monotone vocals and too many hard-hitting angular riffs and rhythms, this might be for you. Alaya is three very handsomely dressed guys whose sound is complex and technical, nicely balanced out with plenty of memorable melodies.
If it doesn’t hit you on the first listen, don’t give up, there are many hidden secrets waiting to be found. The first notable thing is Evan Dunn’s warm and powerful voice carrying the melodies over the chugging guitars in the beginning of the first track. It has an overhanging aura of eerie darkness, unexpected and absorbing. The same feeling continues in ‘White Noise’ and here’s a good example of the band’s great songwriting skills; the unique structure, intricate guitar work and high-reaching vocals make this one of the best tracks on the album. Towards the end of it the mood lightens up and it’s followed by a couple of really beautiful and catchy tunes.
After the first half the tracks become increasingly heavier and the darkness looms again, nicely amplified by the horror-themed lyrics. The drummer David Robinson is a dominant driving force, keeping it intense throughout with his bombastic, effectual rhythms together with Michael Rinkenberger working it on the bass. Lots of lovely drum and bass eargasms!
The song ‘Haunted’ comes in three parts, all quite different but equally delightful. The last part, also the ending song, is another highlight with captivating vocals and a vibrant feeling. It puts a smile on my face and is a great ending to a surprising and engaging listening experience.
Conclusion: Alaya is a band that masters the art of merging admirable technical skills with supremely accessible melodies, which results in an honest and soulful first album, one that is highly recommended.
Best songs: White Noise, Inside, Thrones, Haunted pt III, Entropy