Thursday 2 July 2015

Alustrium - 'A Tunnel to Eden' (Album Review)

Listening to "A Tunnel to Eden" I get the feeling that this might be the album that "makes" this band

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 24/7/2014
Label: Self Release

‘A Tunnel to Eden’ track listing:

1. A Tunnel To Eden
2. The Atheist Phenomenon
3. In His Own Image
4. Wander
5. Slackjaw
6. Procreate, Eviscerate
7. My Possessor
8. Lucid Intervals
9. The Illusion of Choice I
10. The Illusion of Choice II
11. The Illusion of Choice III

Alustrium is:

Jerry Martin | Vocals
Chris Kelly | Guitar, vocals
Mike DeMaria | Guitar
Kevin Penny | Bass
Chaz Squillace | Drum


My relationship with death metal has been a little odd over the years.  There's something innately primal about listening to it.  The harsh sound and brutal changes shroud an often awe-inspiring level of musicianship, but some bands in the genre can leave a listener suffering from what I like to call "ear-fatigue" where it becomes difficult and samey sounding to listen to after a half hour or so of non-stop pummelling.  That being said, this doesn't apply whatsoever to Alustrium's newest release "A Tunnel to Eden" which covers a huge amount of sonic ground while dabbling its toes in the pools of progressivism.  This is a death metal album in the vein of the actual band Death, fearless and groundbreaking.  The musicianship here is absolutely peerless with everything from Scandinavian lead work to even some blues licks thrown in the solos.  The drumming is also singularly impressive throughout its length, avoiding genre pitfalls with a deep groove.  From a production standpoint the album is rather dry, as most albums with fast tempo riffing are, and the production reminds me a lot of the aforementioned band Death or perhaps Tombs release "Savage Gold" from last year.     

To give an example of the cools song writing on display here, track 5 "Slackjaw" moves into some Gojira-esque territory with fast tempo palm muted melodic riffs with some cool and different rhythm changes, sometimes mid-riff.  The solo on "Slackjaw" moves over an almost 80s thrash riff and the solo closes into a definitely Scandinavian dual lead section.  The intro riff to track seven "My Possessor" has an almost 90's video game bouncing melody and resolves into a very different complimentary riff.  What sounds like a touch of synth creeps into the background for the epic sounding chorus.  "My Possessor" is a great example of brilliance in riff writing as each section fits perfectly but is radically different in feel giving the song a huge amount of movement through it's length.  The surprising instrumental break in the rough center of the song moves into some post-rock then develops into some Russian Circles territory atmosphere.  As "A Tunnel to Eden" moves through it's track length it becomes gradually more and more progressive.    

The closing three tracks are essentially one huge song in three different chapters.  Clearly the centrepiece of the album, these three tracks compromise a touch over thirty of the album's seventy-five minutes of length and cover just as vast a sonic territory as the early tracks if not more.  These tracks are where the musicianship really comes out in the slick machinelike riff changes and the blistering leads. 

Throughout its length you can tell "A Tunnel to Eden" has got to be pretty epic live.  These guys appear to be based out of Philly and seem to have mostly toured the Northeast from what I can tell pawing through their facebook page.  If they make it in your area make sure to check them out, these songs have great energy on record and I'm sure live it’s even better.  Listening to "A Tunnel to Eden" I get the feeling that this might be the album that "makes" this band, so no joke try to catch them now so you can brag to you're friends how you saw them in a tiny club and they were awesome. 

Words by: Chris Tedor

‘A Tunnel to Eden’ is here
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