Finding a band that you enjoy is an absolute treat. You now have the distinct pleasure of going through their discography and enjoying any past releases (if there are any) and reveling in your discovery. This is a feeling that normally can’t be replicated until you find a new band to latch onto. However, what if you could discover your favorite band for the first time all over again? Stolas have made this possible with their latest album Allomaternal. This is the band as we’ve never heard them before, stepping up every aspect of their sound to a new level.
The vocals on this records were given special attention and the pride that flows through them consistently shines throughout the album. On their last release, Living Creatures, the band had vocal features for half of the tracks. On this album there are none to be found, and for good reason. The band brought Jason Aalon Butler of letlive. to work on the vocals and it clearly shows. Every performance has charisma and punch. The screams sound raw while at the same time being far more articulate and the clean vocals have much more of a unique identity. These are not elements thrown in to the mixture of the music simply for the sake of being there, but ones that genuinely add something to the product. Songs like ‘Proving Grounds’, ‘Counterpoise’ and ‘Somatic’ showcase these improvements in grand fashion.
Compositionally, the band have soared to new heights. Not only do these songs hold up individually, but they hold up within the context of the album. Living Creatures was a collection of good tracks, but they were just that: a collection. This album revolves around a concept and the tracks punctuate each moment within that concept properly and effectively. Nothing feels like it was thrown in just because it sounded interesting, but rather because it added something meaningful to the song and the album as a whole. The songs are not only meaningfully composed, they are also catchy and intricate. Not once does it feel as if the music was dumbed-down for a catchy chanted chorus or a bouncy, open note chug. Every gorgeous melody or chaotic guitar part is articulated with impressive amounts of finesse and poise. For such a young group, the compositional maturity on display is highly commendable and should be looked upon as an example for a work crafted with the integrity of the art in mind.
As a listener, one can only hope that as bands progress, they also improve. There are those that stay stagnant and may release albums of consistent quality, but they aren’t making any noticeable changes to their sound or aiming to present themselves in a new light. With Allomaternal, Stolas have thrown out the notion that they could ever be one of those bands. They looked at what they had done previously and knew that they could do better. Instead of doing better, they went above and beyond to make something that allowed us to hear them not only in a new light, but for the first time all over again.
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Stolas’ Allomaternal gets…