Aliengates – Dark Days Quantum

up_040504_aliengatesThis is a pretty damn professional looking self-released effort. The CD comes in a complete jewel case with a full color layout, booklet, lyrics… the works. The artwork is actually pretty decent, too. The color scheme and typefaces are consistent, the band logo is nice (too bad the name sucks), etc. Unfortunately, the music doesn’t live up to the presentation. Remember that band Epidemic? They were a fucking good band that was really heavy and moderately paced, resting somewhere in between death metal and something that was fighting categorization. This sounds sort of like a slightly more experimental Epidemic, except it’s somehow not that good at all. There’s a lot of midpaced heaviness and melody, but they also try and get a bit complex sometimes, and they just can’t pull it off. The playing is sloppy, and the guitars/vocals really run the show. The drumming is some of the most stagnant and boring I’ve ever heard, and the bass just mirrors the guitars with simple rhythm notes. These types of compositions would allow plenty of room for the rhythm section to move around, but they’re not taking advantage of that at all. “Saintfilth” has a memorable chorus, the title track starts out with some catchy riffing, and “Heartless” brings in some nice female vocals, but they often ruin such elements with stunted time changes and choppy rhythmic breaks. The more I listen to it the more I hear a subtle Swedish influence a well. And that’s not their strong point. Their strong point is slow, plodding, melodic heaviness with just a little bit of atmosphere. They just need to work on writing stronger, more cohesive songs with a better sound. The recording needs some work but it’s not awful. The drums are way too rigid for my tastes, especially since that draws attention to the stagnant, simplistic, and redundant performance. I can hear bass, but it needs more definition, and I’d just clean up the guitar distortion a little bit. The sneering vocal shouts sound fine. I’m not into the lyrics at all, though. They just make no sense, “We are the bulletwhores that work and reach for a terrorlord, We are the hammertongues that speak the nail of the neverword, Poisoned and infected with desperation, Aimless bastards reign this dead colonization, Where only your flesh can sell…” I don’t know. Potential? Sure. But where will they take it? Parts of this I really like, parts of it do nothing for me. – Andrew Westerhouse

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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