ALAZKA - 'Phoenix' Album Review
1. Echoes 2. Ghost 3. Empty Throne 4. The Witness 5. Everglow 6. Ash 7. Phoenix 8. Everything 9. Hearts Of Gold 10. Legacy 11. Blossom 12. Fading Flame
Its no secret that I love an unusual or exceptional vocal, I mean its very obvious through my music conversations that I do appreciate vocals a lot. But I also absolutely love a good piece of music that has been cleverly layered to incorporate many different aspects of instrumental use. This album I am about to dive into has both of those, so when I say I am in love with this album its no exaggeration. It's been a while since music has made me feel so much excitement and enjoyment, and I am so buzzing to be feeling it again.
Now the band behind this incredible album is Alazka, a German band sporting two vocalists, two guitarists and a bassist, who have been on the scene since 2012. Originally going by the name Burning Down Alaska, Alazka have came a long way in their music career with tours and album/ep releases. Their latest creation, the one to create the birth of my excitement for music, is the album 'Phoenix'. And what an album it is! 'Phoenix' features 12 incredible songs, which showcases some amazing talents by all band members and musicians. But first I wanna talk about the album artwork.
With a name like 'Phoenix' you naturally assume the artwork to consist of a phoenix. Whether its rising from the ashes or flying or flying with ashes falling off it or even fire and smoke visible around this bird, you expect something generic. Well I can safely say that even with the simplicity of the design, it definitely isnt generic and it definitely doesnt feature a phoenix. Black roses, with black stems and leaves which lay peacefully on a black backdrop. Despite the mono-coloured design there is another feature which personally I think ties the whole thing together with the album name, is the amber embers running through the petals of the roses and kisses a few leaves. With this contrast of imagery and colours, you are shown how simplicity can actually say a lot more than you think. I love that they havent gone for the obvious route for the album artwork, there has been more thought to it. I also feel by having roses it adds to the emotional side of things. Yes phoenixes are beautiful creators, but there is an element of sadness to them dying many times to be reborn and go through life again and again. Now the simplicity within the design is affective, but it is not a reflection of what to expect when you listen to the album, as the album is filled with complex musically pieces.
Now again 'Phoenix' is a 12 track album, and honestly the album is incredible. There isnt a song on there that I dont like, compiling my favourites was a very difficult task! But overall the album is brimming with; unique soft vocals, beautiful harsh vocals, extreme guitar skills, clear and articulated bass and some great drums. Everything is clean, sharp and very well executed and put together. The composure of the songs, the thought that you can feel has gone into them is again just amazing. There has been a lot of passion incorporated into the prescission and dynamic of each song, their position on the album and the album itself. Everyone involved should be proud of themselves, because it is a beautiful piece of art. Now my all time two favourite songs off the album are;
'Ghost' - Starting with soft vocals that are quite gentle and subtle feeling, the song builds with depth being created by the guitars and bass. By playing intricate techniques with the chords, whilst still keeping the lead tune quite catchy and memorable, the guitarists are really showcasing exactly what a guitar can do and what their talents are. By incorporating the same idea of guitars in both lead and rhythm, the layering of the strings starts to form nicely. The layering is then very cleverly added to by the bass, where a thickening of the songs heartbeat is also pieced with strums that matches the guitars. Duing the slower beginning of the song, we are also graced with an introduction to the drums. It starts of subtle, singular and very light. But like the guitars and bass, it picks up with the song, building up the tempo and thickens the layering of the song by proving the solid beat heard throughout. What I like about the drums is that they do change slightly throughout the song, to cater for the tempo/beat that is required. Now my favourite topic of conversation, the vocals. I mean the lyrics are incredible, but the performance of them across both soft and harsh vocals, is phenomenal across the album! But this songs vocals stood out because the soft vocalist appears to utilise their pitch capacity, by singing different tones. And then the harsh vocalist also dabbles within that area, however I feel with harsh vocals the pitch playing is a little bit more difficult to achieve, however it meant that there was layering of both vocals without adding two or more additional vocalists. Whilst keeping the originality of the vocalists very prominent, the vocalists definitely achieved change of pitches throughout this track. But by achieving it, it also means that the Alazka guys have the ability to really push their music to the next level.
'Phoenix' - The title track, 'Phoenix' is for me the perfect Rock track. Killer lyrics, intense lead and rhythm guitars, deep bass, executed strong drums and well superb vocals. What more could you want? The song is catchy, it's memorable and the level of talent oozing out of this track is just incredible because no one is overbearing or overshadowed. Starting off with soft vocals and the introduction of the tune that is heard at different stages of the song by the guitar, the song builds into the slightly heavier side of Rock. This is achieved by the intensity of the guitars and addition of drums building, by doing this the song transforms. But it also leads way for the harsh vocals. The intensity of the drums and guitars doesnt drop when the chorus begins, but glides its way through to the next verus where the song drops back temporarily to the slowness it was at the beginning. When the song picks up and drops again, only to pick back up again, it intensifies the song. By creating a split in the layering, you get a chance to appreciate the technique and soft vocals a little bit more. The vocals consists of shared segments as well as singing together, and I think doing so with harsh and soft vocals really emphasises the lyrics. The bass and drums provide a solid beat, filled with intricate beats and even further depth to the strings and song, heard throughout and not overpowered by the vocals or guitars I just feel they really tie the whole thing together. This song itself for me is perfect, its got all the aspects I would want from a Rock track that consists of a band with two vocalists and one being a harsh vocalist.
Overall this album is phenomenal, I absolutely love it and love what Alazka are doing. I honestly couldnt want more from an album and they have reignited my excitement for music. I highly recommend purchasing the album and I cannot wait to see these guys live in action! Although I will definitely need to remember that I have a full time job, and have bills to pay so I cant quite just drop everything and go fly to their next show in Germany. Well not just yet anyway...
Website - www.alazkaofficial.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/alazkaofficial/
Review - Leanne Gibson