Five years after Safer than Reality, ALIASES finally return with Derangeable, an album replete with riffs and melodies managing to blend aggression with mellifluous intent.
Derangeable‘s eleven tracks are loaded to the brim with intricate guitar work and punishingly good rhythms, with nearly every high and low we were given to expect on Safer to Reality cranked up an extra notch or two. From the very onset of “Find Where You Hide,” we’re essentially provided the framework throughout the album—brutal guitar work overlaid pummeling drums only to be pulled a notch back to shift to a nearly half-tempo chorus section giving vocalist Joe Rosser a foundation to let his clean style soar high above his typical sharp growls. The same weight carries on in “Everything Is Upon Us,” being shaped by a similar blueprint as its predecessor, but things change up in quite a way with “Back to the Start.” A more bass-driven track throughout, courtesy of Joe Heaton, this allows Rosser to employ a cleaner vocal style, but manages to emulate Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington with some of his natural distortion—a welcome throwback to a favorite at the turn of the century.
Things get a little strange with “Smile All You Like,” a track that is much like the first two, but employs sharpened lead guitar work in between its rhythmic sections, creating an interesting dissonance, whereas “Deep Sea Avenue” is the tried-and-true formula we’ve heard before. “Uncontrollable Desires” and “Callous” are equally solid tracks that traverse the direction that ALIASES have so pleasantly exploited—which is by no means a bad thing. What they do, they do well.
“Face For Lust” is a great track that breaks up the typical with a sweetly-played acoustic intro and a chorus that flies high above several others on the album before degenerating into a pure riff-fest between Graham “Pin” Pinney and Leah Woodward only to be followed by the backbone rhythm section of Jof Walsh on drums and Heaton on bass.
The album closes out with “Seen It All,” which is a pretty ‘standard’ track for the album, but moves onto “Untangled Mind,” by far the strangest track on all of Derangeable. Bizarre slides and particularly interesting vocal lines litter the track before evolving into a supremely melodic ending underlaid by swift double kicks, begging the question “Do you know what it’s like to lose control?” The last track, “Above the Sky,” feels like a culmination of everything we’ve previously heard, as it contains the righteously efficient strangeness of Woodward’s and Pinney’s dueling lead guitar work and Rosser’s vocal duality with the dependable backbone of drum and bass to carry the song along.
The greatest gripe that can be levied against Derangeable is that it is perhaps too much. Each song is laden with these furious intricacies, raging growls, emotional vocal cleans, pounding drums, thumping bass, jarring spots of both ritardando and accelerando, and just about every musical dynamic you can wrap your head around. By about track 6 or 7, you start to experience fatigue with the album, which is really unfortunate, because as a whole, it’s supremely good. Derangeable is best consumed in spurts of about three to four tracks at a time or thrown on shuffle with similar artists of your choosing (SikTh if you want to be cheeky, but Protest the Hero, Novallo, Red Seas Fire, RXYZYXR, or deely), as it is quite a lot to take in from front to back.
Outside of that, pretty much every track on the album is single material, existing in their respective ecosystems and perfectly consumable on their own. For the diehards, this album is superb from beginning to end. However, for anyone just getting into ALIASES, you may have a tough time going the distance with Derangeable. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.
ALIASES’ Derangeable gets…