|Review: Alley - The Weed|
Label: BadMoodMan Music
Year released: 2008
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: May 25, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Well, this is odd. Alley are a Russian band who play a highly progressive kind of post-Death Metal. On first listen I hated this, on a second one I liked it pretty well, and now I can't decide. There are things about this I like, and things I really don't. The basis for Alley's sound is a rhythmically complex base of heavy Death Metal riffing laced with long, prog-tinged solos. Vocals are mostly harsh, with an intelligible approach that is vicious without being pukey.
Where I think this album fails is in being too proggy, as they mix in a lot of clean vocals and more chromatic, post-rock style riffage, and these elements do not always work that well. Some of the melodies are quite good, and the clean vocals themselves are perfectly decent, but the upshift from downtuned Death-style riffs to clean, six-string chords for the post-rock bits is jarring, and while sometimes these passages are driving and interesting, sometimes they are just too bouncy and happy-sounding. An overall Cynic influence can be detected, and that's not good at all. When Alley stay aggressive and keep to the Death Metal sound, their intricate riff-style is quite good, but the over-the-top prog leanings are often too much, and the post-rock stylings makes this a quite a schizophrenic album. This disc trades a lot of visceral punch for intellectual posing, and in the end I think it traded too much. This album is interesting, but that doesn't make it great.
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