I have been a fan of Amanda Somerville ever since she appeared on my radar. Mainly perceived as a background singer at first. This when starting to review Epica‘s tribulations in The Phantom Agony. Then her other talents and projects came to light. Such as the Kiske/Somerville records that have brought her some considerable fame. And here she is with her own production and début album Alloy‘of her gig ‘Trillium‘.
So, excitement reigned and I could not wait to listen to this new record. Looking at the excellent album art and some samples found on YouTube – expectations running high. But – hells bells – whilst attempting to place itself in the Gothic Metal arena (without growls, much to my relief..), Alloy really bends towards a rocky version of the Pop Metal universe (I am leaning far out the window here..). And some rehashed versions of other styles that we all heard before, trying to get in with the likes of Evanescence and such.
So, does Alloy qualify for Heavy Metal or Hard Rock? Yeah, kind of – with reservations. The purists will again argue that there is no metal at all in there. And this brew of sorrows should thus be condemned. But not so fast: A chosen style of a band is what it is, just trying to push something into a corner of one’s own belief will not help matters any.
Amanda Somerville’s vocal powers are of course very apparent, the songs flawlessly executed, no doubt there. But then this performance of hers and of the band members themselves is – how to phrase it? – subdued. Not coming out, flat – even if they try hard to get us to prove the record’s metal existence. Yes somehow with some very good riffs and solos from master shredder Sander Gommans. Actually, Sander sounds much better in the Kiske/Somerville productions. But still, the truth is: Just. Not. Coming. Through.
The Rule of Three applies to this album. The first three tracks or so are quite fast and with an interesting pattern, starting with Machine Gun. A refreshing plot in there by the way, but then Alloy loses steam relatively quickly. The real highlight is the no 2 track Coward – also featuring a brilliant video on YouTube.
Having said that, not all is lost: Utter Descension and Mistaken – tracks #4 and #6 of the record I am listening to – actually remedy this impression pretty well. But then, the cheese takes over in Scream It (the ghost of Kiske is all over this…). The track lathers you in very loud schmooze, delivered in a style best described as a mixture between Marco Hietala and Kiske himself. But of course they had no involvement.
Actually the track is performed together with Jorn Lande – and not to the best effect, I might add. And the lyrics just plainly suck. Want a sample? “Hold on to me, I am your Landing Strip” or “Come closer and you see, that my name is your disaster and I’ll make you scream”. Darn, they should have tried Marco after all for some added spice and a pinch of a less delirious choice of words. Forsooth!
And on it goes with this amalgam of stuff we already heard somewhere. Bland fare, nothing quite surprising, no real edges. By holding back some, Trillium keep a lot of their juice in check. This just yearns to be unleashed. And this is a real pity, you can just feel the energy humming somewhere in the background.
Alloy is not bad per se. But if you are out for some surprises or a tune that is up to everybody’s talent of those present in this line-up, you will be disappointed. In other words, this is something I can listen to in the car speeding down the highway. And it will accompany well. But not much otherwise. We will see what Trillium will be able to produce in future for us. Hopefully with much more spice than is ever present in this album. Kick it up a notch, guys!
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