Alesana - Topic

Where Myth Fades to Legend Play

The second full-length by North Carolina screamo act Alesana finds the sextet inching ever closer to the mall punk mainstream. Where the pretentiously titled debut, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, was focused primarily on lead singer Dennis Lee's forced screams and growls, the more commercially minded Where Myth Fades to Legend makes far greater use of the band's clean vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Shawn Milke, whose appealingly whiny voice is more suited to the hooks-and-riffs songwriting that predominates here. Simply on that basis, the album is an improvement over their debut, and Where Myth Fades to Legend is conceivably of interest to some subset of the Vans Warped Tour crowd. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi

A Place Where the Sun Is Silent Play

A year after a concept album based on Edgar Allan Poe’s "Annabel Lee" titled Emptiness, Alesana released a second concept record based on a classic poem. A Place Where the Sun Is Silent finds the North Carolina screamo group turning to the first part of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, "Inferno," for inspiration. The band’s dramatic first Epitaph release tracks the protagonist's decent to Hell, and matches the weighty theme with the scorching riffs, soaring melodies, and heavy breakdowns that traditionally make up Alesana’s slick, fiery style. Wide arrangements (horns, string sections, and a children’s choir) and a long running time of 62 minutes make it feel highly ambitious, yet it’s much like the last couple outings musically, with Shawn Milke and Dennis Lee centering it all, trading curdling screams and wispy vocal hooks. All in all, they seem invigorated by the subject matter, and deliver a nice take on the material. ~ Jason Lymangrover, Rovi

The Emptiness Play

A concept album based on Annabel Lee, the last complete poem written by Edgar Allen Poe, The Emptiness finds Alesana delivering an album of solid screamo with a decidedly narrative angle. Musically, the album has everything you’d expect from these guys. Harmonized guitar riffs create a moody canvas for the vocals, which alternate from soaring to tortured and back again, to tell their dark tale, with the whole thing punctuated by uplifting choruses and crushing breakdowns. What sets The Emptiness apart from similar albums is the narrative thread that’s woven between the songs. The record tells the story of a man known as “The Artist” who wakes up to find his lady love, “Annabel,” murdered in his bed. Upon his realization of what's happened, the story spirals into a macabre journey filled with rage, murder, guilt, and insanity. Breaking up the album are four interludes, narrative sections that help to string the listener along from one act to another. Musically, Alesana have created an album that will be a surefire pleaser for fans of the genre. The music captures the swirling tempest of emotions presented in the narrative, almost bordering on theatrical. What might give the album a wider appeal is the fact that Alesana are trying to tell a story (albeit a distinctly emo story) with their album. Whether you’re a fan or not, the fact that the band was bold enough to attempt to tame the daunting beast that is the concept album should warrant at least one listen from anyone interested in experiencing this dark musical tale. ~ Gregory Heaney, Rovi
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