SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI
I missed out on Sons of Alpha Centauri's debut album, so here I am, dipping into their sophomore full-length release, 'Continuum', which I gather is arriving a whopping 10+ years after their first. When this turned up for review, everything looked rather promising. The cover design is fantastic. Love the band logo, too. And press blurb that talks of "dark anthems and intense textures, introspective interludes with tidal waves of distortion... awash with soaring melodies..." suitably whetted my appetite. Alas, it's transpired to be none of the above. Add the word "average" to each of those over-zealous, misleading judgements, and that'd me more what to expect.
What makes 'Continuum' an average listen, at best, is that it's compositionally bland, where ideas and motifs promise to progress into something quite interesting but, ultimately, fail to do so. The majority of the instrumentations don't really go anywhere to ignite that spark of exhilaration, or forge an absorbing vibe to capture my emotional attention. Listening to Continuum', I feel like I'm permanently on its periphery... perpetually distanced, rather than immersed within its instrumentations. It's devoid of emotional depth. This, I guess, is the predominant problem with the music. So, the claim in the press release that this album is constituted by "eight emotionally demanding tracks" is entirely untrue… through my own listening experience.
The production of the album is okay, but not great. It seems to lack any real bite or oomph. And the mix is not that great, either - levels could be better balanced between the instruments. However, it's not just about an average production as the sound and effects choices for the instruments themselves don't always help. Guitars are a little too fuzzy for their own good on occasion, such as on 'Solar Storm'. And some hideously cheesy and amateurish keyboard sounds on 'Interstellar' seem entirely misplaced. Plus the bass sounds sporadically out of place with the rest of the mix, rather than seamlessly integrated into the overall instrumentations.
There are so many other bands doing this kind of mellow/heavy instrumental post-rock stuff far better than SOAC... look no further than Germany's Long Distance Calling for one of the very finest… particularly their phenomenal ‘Boundless’ album, released earlier this year. ‘Continuum’, I’m afraid to declare, is, for me, bang down the middle average.
Review by Mark Holmes
1st June 2018
1) Into The Abyss
3) Solar Storm
5) Surfacing for Air
7) Orbiting Jupiter
8) Return Voyage
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"There are so many other bands doing this kind of mellow/heavy instrumental post-rock stuff far better than SOAC..."