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Friday, November 27, 2015

Review: Alphastate - Out Of The Black


Alphastate deliver a kicker of a first album

Alphastate; a Greek band, debuting with their first CD “Out of the Black” is a handful of an album. Cut-throat riffs and powerful singing make a very interesting album and a very good first effort from the Greeks. They say to have influence from 80’s metal bands and these influences are distinguishable, definitely, especially Pantera. But the singing is more Iron Maiden, and all other bits and pieces remind one of yet other bands. Yet, they also seem to be able to get a very own sound out; the punch in every song and the technical riffs also have a lot of influence of certain NWOAHM-styles and it is in the end altogether too modern to just be compared to the 80’s greatest.

The thing these men from Greece do very well is to never dwell on a single trick, never be content with just one well-written riff repeating throughout the song. Songs seem not build on one moment of genius but are very well put together and very varied, so no song sounds alike. The songs rarely pass far past the 4 minute mark, which also helps to give every song that hard-hitting quality. Alphastate comes on, punches your teeth in and leaves for the next song; rinse and repeat. The fat sound of the guitars has a lot to do with this quality; very bottom-heavy palm muted sounds that are similar to early Pantera, but polished up to todays standards.

The downsides to the album are few; sometimes the solos favour the technical for the beautiful, however brief. It is to be understood when making a debut album to go all-out in every direction to showcase what you got in store, but sometimes Alphastate seems to want to do too much in one song and the cohesion falls apart a bit. The singing, however always on key, sometimes sounds slightly forced, as if the singer has to work for every note, not really being at ease. Especially in the higher regions he has a vibrato that sometimes lingers on too long, makes him strain to hold on.

These are minor points, however, and overall this debut kicks metal-butt. Again, especially for a first effort this album has variety, the balls to shout in the listeners face and do things that may blow up in their face at times, but overall work out very well.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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