Safer Than Reality
15 August 2011
by Tomas Doyle
They say familiarity breeds contempt but one wonders what preconceptions many listeners will have of Aliases on hearing that they feature Graham “Pin” Pinney on guitar, a man who in a former life plied his trade as part of spastic dissonance merchants SiKth. Of course once the SiKth fan boys have wiped the spermatozoa from their trousers they will realise that Aliases are very much their own beast and that Safer Than Reality has more than enough fire power to blow lazy comparisons to former projects clean out of the water.
Coming out of the blocks apace with the tech-metal bombast of ‘What’s Left for Us’, Aliases match up a suitably groovy and riff laden instrumental core with the remorselessly catchy lead vocal of Jay Berast to impressive effect. Indeed, Berast’s contribution is strong throughout the eight tracks on offer here – he was apparently hunted down over an eighteen-month audition period and commutes from Paris to practice and perform with the band. His vocal range and understanding of how to pen a decent hook as well as bludgeon with a crushing roar shows exactly why Aliases were (and are) at such great pains to keep him amongst their ranks.
The sonic brutality and dexterous singing style brings to mind Canadian loons, Protest The Hero, with Aliases obviously taking enormous glee in wringing out every last ounce of their technical ability across drums, bass and most prominently, guitars. Occasionally this noodling threatens to overtake the task of writing actual songs, but more often that not individual contributions are held in coherent harmony with an aplomb and focus which allows the band to be absolutely devastating when they hit their full stride.
Watch the video to ‘What’s Left For Us?’ by Aliases:
‘All That Glitters is Gold’ is an arguable highlight, showcasing the bands ability to put together sections with melodic flair and atmospheric depth with Berast’s voice yet again a real show stealer. Closer ‘Sirens’ hits you with everything but the kitchen sink, a four minute distillation of everything that Aliases have got so right with this release, beautifully judged and executed; in parts relentlessly crushing yet consistently and deliciously melodic. If you could level one criticism it would be that at just under half an hour and with only 6 “proper'”tracks Safer Than Reality feels a little short but this is, nevertheless, a cracking debut by a band who will hopefully be flying the flag for UK metal for a long time to come.
Sounds like: Protest The Hero
Top tracks: What’s Left For Us, All That Glitters is Gold
Aliases – Safer Than Reality tracklisting
What’s Left for Us?
The Reality of Beliefs
We Never Should Have Met
All That Glitters is Gold
While I Drown
The Beginning Has No End