Yorkshire mob Of Allies are now arguably veterans of the independent rock scene. The quartet say that they “tread the lines between alternative rock, melodic rock and UK rock, whilst always hinting at something darker.”
Based on that description alone, you’d expect their second album, ‘Are We Better Off?’, to be full of headbangers, but also surreal and abstract.
‘Doublespeak’ entices you in with i’s intriguing synth layout, with a growling dubstep bass pulsing through a smoother sustained synth. The addition of two conflicting spoken-word parts makes for an interesting, almost unsettling experience. After this we come to a climax, and after a short hospital sample, ‘An Echo (Or Nothing)’ kicks the album off with a bang. The intro attacks the ears with heavy guitars and pounding drums, taking us straight back to reality after having heard the surrealist opening track.
‘Still Memory’ starts off almost ethereal, with delayed guitars and crooning vocals. Once the drums kick in, so does a vibe of Biffy Clyro. ‘Beyond The Wave’ honestly sounds like early era Linkin Park mixed with the more modern sound of Dorje.
The first chord of the acoustic intro to the closing track, ‘Goodbye’ seems to signal a relaxing end to the record, but once you hear the second chord, it puts you right back on edge again. The acoustic section has an air of a Slipknot ballad about it; it feels dark, ethereal and raw. Once the electric guitars have reappeared, it completely changes gear, sounding almost like Alter Bridge. The song finishes with a repeat of the acoustic guitar line, and a chilling note that’ll make you want to come back for more.
Based on ‘Are We Better Off?’ alone, Of Allies are better off making more records like this.
20/All things Scottish Rock/Emo/Metal