German metalcore band Burning Down Alaska had been making a name for themselves in their scene, having shared stages with Being As An Ocean and Parkway Drive, and gathering for themselves a sizeable following. After announcing their break-up earlier this year, the band are now back under the moniker Alazka, and have undergone some line-up changes and a new, huge sound to boot.
It’s fitting, then, that their new album is entitled ‘Phoenix’; Alazka are rising from the ashes, and won’t go unnoticed. The album opens with ethereal intro track ‘Echoes’, all hushed guitars and haunting cleans from vocalist Kassim Auale, and you really feel like you’re in for something special. Lead single ‘Ghost’ kicks in straight after, and it’s a real belter. Auale‘s cleans are perfectly juxtaposed with Tobias Rische‘s brutal roars to provide an infectious hook.
This is all followed by another blistering single in the form of ‘Empty Throne’. “And I don’t need your excuses / And I don’t need your regrets”, bellows Auale, and you could cut the heartache with a knife. Emotive lyrics, cathartic screams from Rische, and sharp, staccato drums – none of this is new, but to Alazka‘s credit, it’s being done very well.
The guitars on this record are truly a stand out feature. Spine tingling riffs abound from Mario Bruckwalder and Dario Sanchez respectively, and really help set Alazka apart from other bands in their often oversaturated genre. Their atmospheric, dreamy feel make the album’s highlights shine even brighter, including both the soaring ‘The Witness’ and stunning slow burner ‘Blossom’, and bring something distinctive to a couple of otherwise unremarkable tracks.
Fans of Dayseeker and Architects will lap this up, and anyone who likes their metalcore emotive and melodic will find something to enjoy on ‘Phoenix’. However, there’s little here that hasn’t been done before, and at times it feels as though the band is running out of steam. But, don’t count them out yet – this is very promising stuff, and, if Alazka can work in more variation in their next effort, they may just gain an edge over their peers.
Written by Lottie Cook (@pixelottie)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. |