ALBUM: Alesana – The Emptiness

Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Label: Fearless Records
Website: www.alesanamusic.net
MySpace: www.myspace.com/alesana

Rating:

“The emptiness will haunt you” claims the album’s intro. How tragic then that just 20 seconds later any chance the band had of creating some kind of atmosphere or momentum is killed dead by weak, flaccid vocals and hilariously poor screaming. The music itself is okay if fairly passable, but it’s clear that the majority of the blame for this album’s failings falls squarely at the voice boxes of the serial microphone abusers on display here.

On the screaming: when it’s actually done well here, and in places it is, it sounds very ‘Odd How People Shake’ but for the most part all that comes out is some gurgled mess of an attempt at growling. Sadly, the guitars aren’t given nearly enough limelight to cover up the horrors being committed by the vocalists. The singing lacks any substance or personality and is nowhere near rich or powerful enough to pull off anything other than poor man’s pop-punk with a head cold.

As stated, the music isn’t awful and so it’s a shame the songs focus on the band’s lacking vocals. There are glimpses of what could have been; opener ‘Curse Of The Virgin Canvas’ has some pretty nice if predictable flourishes, ‘The Murderer’ teases with the faintest glimmer of intensity before compromising and capitulating to the needs of vocals, whilst ‘Heavy Hangs The Albatross’ and ‘Annabel’ both attempt to stage a musical coup until the crushing blow that is the cringing vocal line predictably vomits all over the proceedings. Not even an over thought, poorly executed “concept album” underlying narrative can save this album.

It would be easy to slap down some pithy remark such as “The Emptiness is just that” or “The Emptiness will bore you”, but that would ignore all the good work the rest of the band did in trying to cover for all the sub-standard vocal bile chucked up all over their nice guitar lines. Having said that, this album doesn’t deserve anything more than a warning sticker. Stay back!

Written by Greg Johnson