Aletheian - Dying Vine
At the Cornerstone Festival this year, I was talking to the lead singer of Aletheian, Joel Thorpe. He mentioned to me that in the past, people had came to see them in concert and just loved their sound. However, when they bought their Apolutrosis album, many would e-mail the band and complain that it sounded nothing like their live sound. While Apolutrosis was a fabulous album, I will agree that the album was way different then their live show. Aletheian puts on an incredibly tight and powerful live performance and it seems like the band tried to show that side of themselves in this new album, Dying Vine. When you see the band in concert and then buy Dying Vine, it's not going to be a let-down at all. This album is chock full of deftly executed, ultra technical, progressive death metal that will more than satisfy their long time fans and concert goers, and will for sure gain them many new fans as well.
Musically, Aletheian just floors me. It's obvious that the band members didn't just pick up their instruments 6 months ago and quickly taught themselves a few chords so as to play the latest trendy style and make a quick buck. No, these gentlemen have spent years honing their skills and it shows on this disc. The dueling guitars of Donny Swigart and Alex Kenis are just sick! This guys are all over the place with punishing riffs, mind-boggling solos, and leads that knock you off your feet. They take technical to a new level, but they do it all within the confines of the song. Nothing sounds out of place or done just to "show off." Every note they play makes the song more complete and more interesting. Add to all of that, Joe Walmer's fantastic and complex drumming, and you have a band that could hold the attention of any extreme metal lover even without vocals. They even toss in some acoustic guitar playing and keyboards at times to their advantage.
Now, I was saying that the band could go without vocals...but why? Mr. Joel Thorpe has a set of lungs and pulls off some deadly growls mixed with harsh screams to further compliment the band's already huge wall of sound. Guitarist Alex Kenis does provide some occasional clean vocals, but they are very sparsely used. The only problem I could come up at all is that the vocals sometimes seem to get lost in the swirling musical chaos and following the lyric sheet becomes nearly impossible. Speaking of lyrics, they are excellently written, deep, and thought-provoking.
Aletheian always keeps you guessing and has crafted an album that is nothing short of breathtaking. This is not some bandwagon release. This is metal forged in the deepest tunnels of creativity. It's like early Extol, At the Gates, Meshuggah, and Dream Theater had a collision and the four Aletheian members are the only ones who made it out alive. If this album doesn't make the band huge, then metalheads haven't sold their souls to the devil...they've flat out sold their souls to stupidity.
Review: Matt Morrow
Label: Hope Prevails Productions
Total Songs: 9
Total Time: 36:49
Tracklisting: 1. Paragon, 2. Broken Legacy, 3. Out from the Shadows, 4. As the Fall Breaks, 5. An Open Grave, 6. Shepherd's Fold, 7. The Dividing Line, 8. Call to Arms, 9. Burnt Offerings.
Best Songs: Tracks 4, 5, and 8.
Band Lineup: Joel Thorpe - Vocals, Alex Kenis - Guitars/Bass/Acoustic Guitars/Keyboards/Clean Vocals, Donny Swigart - Guitars, Joe Walmer - Drums.
Band Website: http://www.aletheian.com