Adelaide’s Alt. debut album Abeyance starts with a crushing riff that stops dead before slamming you headfirst into the ground. It’s a sign of intent of not just the song but the whole album declaring ‘expect the unexpected.’
That slam is in the opening song Parasite, a heavy punchy album opener which displays the bands ability to grab you by the throat and squeeze tightly.
It’s a grip this album doesn’t loosen easily as the sonic schizophrenic Wraith is next. Electronic dashes of ambience woven between a swinging riff held together by a staunch beat and Daniel Cullen-Richards sweeping vocal range.
After a absolute stunning burst over the first two songs that leaves you breathless, The Great Depression gives you a chance to collect your thoughts as the band show their original game of harmonies, hooks and dynamics.
Alt. have shown an upward trajectory that over the last few years that has seen them tour with some of metals hottest and brightest bands and their influence is felt here in subtle ways.
The ability to tell a story that drives where the music goes – one moment serene and gentle, the next anger and rage – is the breathtaking next step in the evolution of the band that co-writing with the likes of Marcus Bridge from Northlane and Landon Tewers from Plot In You teaches. Alt. have watched and learned how the best do it and then made it their own.
A.D.D is a great example of where that influence of storytelling has come from, as you are driven seatbelt-off at 100kms an hour into a world of keyboards, riffs, drums and melodies that combine to blow your mind – and speakers – anchoring all around it on the album.
Back To Earth is a upbeat, catchy dance number that swishes around you like a whirlwind of good feelings as Cullen-Richards sings ‘I just wanna make you move’ before building up to the deliciously arrogant ‘I wanna be a rockstar’ vocal that absolutely slam dunks on the song.
Jack Bergen of Void Of Vision is recruited for APEP, which is an absolute corker. A song that brings all the elements of the album in. It’s soft ambiance, screams, wicked lyrics, melodies and Simon Aistrope’s brutal riffs that bang your head all in one complete song.
At this stage the album has heavier output than previous work from the band however the horror movie influenced and sinister Friendinthedark and The Only Good Thing – an autobiographical love song – delve into the bands deeper soul, an area the band sit comfortably in as shown in the way you literally feel the passion resonate in the latter song.
Title track Abeyance is a bouncing number that is sure to develop into a live favourite as the dynamics between verse and chorus hooks and reels you in. The drumming in particular allows this song to breathe and move in different directions while keeping everything Swiss watch accurate.
Finishing with Better Off Leaving, a break up ballad that aches as Cullen-Richards lyrical delivery, at one point short and longing, hits the heartstrings with cries of ‘my angels are your demons’. The subtly of the musicianship exploding as the song rockets into sonic harmonies that hit that nerve of heartbreak.
Alt. have delivered on their early first season promise and stepped up into serious player mode now. This album has force, diversity, emotion and sensitivity to move them into headliners themselves.
Album Review By Iain McCallum