Alley - The Weed (Bad Mood Man Music)

9:21 AM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

With a moniker like theirs, a logo font that reminds me of the style used on 1950s American diners and a band photo on their Metal Archives page that looks doesn't look unlike Hanson used to (in my mind), little did I expect Russians Alley to be a Soviet Opeth clone. In my work as a reviewer the band I undoubtedly hear most in other musicians work is Opeth, where some might use elements of their free-flowing long song structures interspersed with soft, and heavy, sections to create an alternate style. Alley however have seemingly done away with trying to make anything different from it; instead happy to do exactly Opeth do and leave it at that. Thankfully I love all Opeth, especially their darker,
older material and 'The Weed', Alley's debut release, is done with sincere conviction and aptitude to not be a huge problem. After a droning introduction, from 'Coldness' and 'Dust Layer' on there is so little to separate 'The Weed' from an album like 'My Arms, Your Hearse' that I hardly need explain the style on offer here to anyone who knows Opeth (which is everyone, I hope). Points worth noting are the uncanny similarity between the clean vocals of Andrey Evtugin and Mikael Ã…kerfeldt, which though used less frequently than on recent Opeth outings still show the man has confidence in his pipes. 'Hessian Of Rime' utilises these clean vocals with a tendency for the choir effect in its heavier moments and when required in likes of 'Fading Fall', the occasional whisper of compassion to accompany the softly softly approach in how to clone another band.
'Dust Layer' has a jazzier feel than even some of what the Swedes have to offer and with the final 3 songs being 10+ minutes, Alley don't exactly hurry to reach a song's crescendo. Frequently starting slowly and building up the tempo to glimpses of intense drama, the songs don't follow a conventional pattern, lacking a defined verse-chorus-verse structure like said other band resulting in an album that will take a few listens to fully integrate oneself into. The production is very heavy and punchy with a nice level afforded to the bass in particular that really couldn't leave anyone short-changed who knew what they would be getting themselves into with a purchase of this album. This is a record from a young band with great potential in their musicianship, and if you are able to accept the staggering similarity to one of today's metal giants, there is much to enjoy in it, but for Alley to go far more individuality is going to be required so that future reviews won't be blighted by the usage of another band's name quite so intensively as this one.



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