Alloy, of Greenville, TX Releases Neo-Rock Debut

Meet Alloy, the Greenville Neo-Rockers
“Black and White,” album cover art by Alloy.
I had the pleasure of getting to see Alloy perform live in Dallas, TX opening for Black Stone Cherry. There were two other bands who played before they came out, and Black Stone Cherry brought the…

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NO WAY IN NO WAY OUT (SILLS AND SMITH): ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE

51omOu6uGcL._SL500_AA280_Article by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 9.0 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: Imagine yourself somewhere in Canada. There’s snow on the ground. It’s dark. It’s cold. As you walk down the ice-laden road, you see a bar nestled amidst the pines. The lights inside flicker a warm glow out onto the frozen ground below. As you approach, you hear a band playing. The music is as warm and inviting as the weather outside is cold and harsh. You step into the bar. The band’s drummer gives you a smile and a nod as you approach the bar. You order a whiskey on the rocks. The drink is cold, but sweet, and warms you as it goes down. You let the fire on the hearth, your stiff drink, and the full sound of the band wash over you until you’re relaxed from head to toe.

Highlights: The best part of this album is that it is so stylistically expansive. There’s something for everybody: metal, post-hippie jams, country, adult alternative, and good old alternative rock. This band’s sound is very thick, and the songs have good trajectory. Would it be Different is a Pink Floydesque favorite of mine. Lot’s of complex harmonies, good use of vocal technique, and amazing guitar solos. Melancholy World is another really good one; it’s a very upbeat, yet emotionally complex song with a beat that anyone can get behind, and guitar solos that make your soul ache. I Can’t Reach You is a good bluesy jam. In Pain, they demonstrate their artistic versatility by busting out a straight-up numetal anthem which is strangely consistent with the feel of the rest of the album. These Ghosts is a dreamlike song with a country feel.

Criticisms: My only real criticism is that, in some of their songs, they would do well to space out the lyrics a little more. It occasionally seems that they try to compress too many words into a short space. They would do well to use shorter poems, or else give their song a little more space to breathe. They’re choruses are usually the highlights of their songs; for example, in I’m Right Here, their verses are little too wordy, but the chorus: “I’m right heeeeeeeere, I’m right heeeeeeeere….” gives me chills every time.

Conclusion: This is an excellent album, overall. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. This album is better than their first one, a worthy effort in its own right (review pending) and I think the next one will be even better. I look forward to hearing it.

FLAVAROOM: THE CROATIAN TIGRESS

425455_397317286951594_1707773970_nMusic review by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 9.5 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: I love a good blues band. This is an exceptional blues-fusion band. The harmonic language is complex. The rhythm section is delightfully sophisticated. The vocals and solos are assertive, powerful, polished — rhythmically and harmonically complex, yet perfectly accessible and expressive. The feel is aggressively beautiful and dripping with class.

Highlights: These songs are subtly chromatic, and the harmonic textures are surprisingly varied, yet cogent — perfectly integrated with the rhythmic language. The vocalist is a virtuoso. These people are pros. I challenge you to try to listen to their songs and not get up and dance. I predict you will fail. Their hooks are beyond excellent. Their melodies tend to transition suddenly and seamlessly from being notey and dense to being smooth, simple, and plaintive. Their songs are complex while sounding simple, and the performance is flawless. Their best song, in my opinion, is Walking Down the Stream. Opens with a classic hook in the rhythm guitar, complemented with a sparse, laconic piano hook and warm bass hook. The genius of the melody is that it is assertively on beat — but sounds off beat against the jungle of hooks below it.

Criticisms: The only criticism I have of these guys, is that their sound builds on top of paths that have been explored before. I cannot think of any band that does it better, but they aren’t the first to do it. Don’t let that cause you to overlook them, though. This is some of the best blues I’ve heard in quite a while.

Conclusion: Amazing band with a gorgeous, complex sound. Listening to them is like eating Godiva in a hot tub. Utterly indulgent.

REST IN PAIN: THE POST-HARDCORE BADASSES FROM INDONESIA

1354239410_977a3f33775a61e81810b4ea81c968c1Article by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 8.7 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: These guys are proof that metal can save the world.  This act would fly anywhere where metal reigns.  This an Indonesian band that would be right at home at the Longview, TX metal scene.  Great screams.  Great clean vocals.  Great instrumental textures. Soaring melodies.

Highlights: This is balls-to-the-wall metal.  These guys bring it.  Saint and Sinner is a delightfully confrontational little tune.  It starts off with a bare drum solo that comes across as a war drum.  This transitions to a section with powerful riffs, with a chorus featuring well-blended clean vocals and screams.  The song culminates with a dissonant riff, that, while simple, is played in such a way that it washes over the listener like a shroud of flame.

Criticisms: Overall, these guys are legit.  The only real criticism I have is about the way these guys present themselves.  They call themselves emo.  I feel this is not accurate.  These guys are much too hardcore to be described that way.  Also, their English isn’t all that great — I don’t think anyone will mind, though.  They bring the metal.  That’s what counts.

Conclusion: I think these guys will find themselves welcome wherever metal is played.  I wish them the very best.

SEND THE CITY: A CASE OF UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

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Article by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 7.7 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: You guys are very good.  You could be much better.  The only thing you need to unlock your potential is to get off the flouride and find your untapped warrior spirit.  You identify your genre as being «Easycore/Melodicore.»  I’ve never heard of this genre, but based on the sound, I gather that the idea is that it’s Metalcore minus the screaming.  Here’s the thing, guys: you need to know your fan base.  Chances are, if they like your admittedly excellent riffs and melodies, they’re probably Killswitch Engage fans.  You’re trying to sell soft-core KsE.  That’s not going to fly.  GET ANGRY!

Highlights: The best song you guys have, by far, is Retribution.  You could maybe speed it up a little, but I like the riffs, I like the vocal harmonies, and I love the screams.  That’s the direction I’d like to see you take.  Look Alive is a distant second.  It’s a decent song.  Has a great tune.

Criticisms: Look guys.  You just need to get hardcore.  Bottom line.  Find your inner warrior.  Speed it up.  Give us more screams.  You’ve got talent.  Make me feel like you actually believe in what you’re singing about.

Conclusion: Good songs.  Get mad.  Ramp it up.

 

WITH THESE WORDS: BEAUTY DISMAYED (SINGLE)

th_guitarArticle by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from The Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 8 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: This is the only song this band has published so far (as of 18 February 2013).  However, this little gem of a song shows great promise for the band, and I look forward to hearing more.

Highlights: This song has two things going for it.  Firstly, the rhythms, in conjunction with diatonic quartal harmonic accents are very ear-catching.  Secondly, the singer’s thin, pretty voice is perfectly complemented by the sparse, acoustic instrumental ensemble (piano and violin).  The piano riff (which is really a full fledged tune which is repeated over and over) is just complex enough to stay interesting throughout the entire song.  The countermelody in the violin is expertly done.  I particularly enjoyed the double stop sections.

Criticisms: The song is a tad repetitive, although not so much that it is actually unpleasant.  Also, I’d like to hear a little more range out of the singer.

Conclusion: Well done, guys!  This is a solid piece, overall.  It sounds like a cross between a Motet, an Art Song, and Acoustic Pop.  It’s a very pleasant brew of sonic textures, with engaging polyphonic trajectory and rhythmic language.  I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.