No doubt people will want to label and tag Aliases and all one can do is wish them luck because the Manchester quintet wonderfully step outside of any genre you want to lay at their door with a sound that is as distinct and impressive as the day is long. Call them a metal band because that is primarily what they are but with their own unique and expansive musical corner. There are a few bands that contain elements that make Aliases so impressive and some that tread a similar path without having the originality, but none spring to mind that are taking metal down the exciting and inventive avenue that this band is.
The band began in 2010 with the creative union of ex SikTh guitarist Graham “Pin” Pinney, guitarist Leah Woodward, vocalist Jay Berast, plus drummer Darren Pugh and bassist Joe Heaton. Both ex-Veils. The band immediately started work on their debut EP releasing in the interim a rough demo of ‘We Should Never Have Met’ in July this year. Met with a strongly positive response it led the band to be invited to play the prestigious Euroblast Festival in Cologne, Germany. August saw the release of Safer Than Reality via Basick Records, a label bringing more than their fair share of impressive and unique metal to the world and with this and the Circles album, two of the best releases anywhere.
The EP consists of eight varied and stunning tracks and when we say varied we mean within the songs themselves as much as the whole EP. The tracks are a riveting and intriguing array of ideas, sounds and attacks that fluctuate, resonate, and explode in a colossal portrait of expressive noise and music creation. Amongst the eight tracks there are two brief instrumentals which are delivered with emotive passion and are much more than simple momentary relief between the maelstrom of experimental and incisive sounds.
‘What’s Left For Us’ opens up the EP hitting hard with djent scything guitars that explore and probe the senses over a rampaging rhythm attack from Pugh and Heaton. Vocals are a gruff growl mixed with clean, an at odds harmony that works perfectly, Berast as forceful and controlled as the exploration from Pinney and Woodward. The thing about Aliases that this first track brings and is repeated throughout the release is at times a track plays as if it is two or three separate songs playing at the same time. Not the best way to describe it but the discordant pieces that are integrated into the flow of the song are stunning and inspired.
The ‘Reality Of Beliefs’ takes over with eager fingers from the guitars dramatic play searching within the ear over a cleaner rock vocal with scrapings of growls and soulful flows. This was the one track that brought similarities with another band other than the obvious SikTh connection. The band’s rock/metal leaning and again instinctive creativity comes as easy as they do from UK band Tricore and though their sounds could not be more apart in many ways the construction and seamless meld of directions within the song is a skill that they both impressively have.
The best tracks on Safer Than Reality are the titanic ‘We Never Should Have Met’ and ‘All That Glitters Is Gold’. The first is an addictive and imposing eager clash of frantic sounds and impressive ideas. It rumbles incessantly behind a strong groove that sweetens the senses as the drums give them a firm and intrusive work over. The second of the two songs brings again the distinct sound where melodies and instruments play at extreme odds to others and the vocals, to create a track as triumphant as it is majestic. Many bands try to use discordance and the majority successfully but it is hard to think of one that does it to the extreme and brilliance that Aliases do. In an already brilliant EP these moments are a highlight of the highest level.
To know more about the EP simple go and listen, there is so much more and within the EP that we have barely covered. Safer Than Reality if not already should be on your to listen list and Aliases in your ears constantly.