Redefine – Alphoenix (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Alphoenix can be found at the point of the heavy metal spectrum where melody and groove begin to be subsumed by attributes such as power and speed, weight and intensity. Even the sub-genres we use to organise such metallic strands have names which tell you all you need to know, prefixes like speed-, thrash- and even death-, abound. It’s brutal, it’s intense, it’s claustrophobic, bearing down on the listener like a sonic mountain falling on their senses.

But the balancing act here is the technical skills which they display too. The backbeats are thunderous and unrelenting, that double kick drum, which these genres have made their own, building an amazing platform on which to hang the rest of the instrumentation. The bass and the guitar riffs form melodic tsunamis which rise and wash over the song and the vocals are incendiary and caustic.

And within this wall of controlled noise, Alphoenix weaves musical dynamics to great effect, from lulling lows to sky-scraping highs, from spiralling guitar crescendos to more considered melodic interludes. Redefine might at first seem all about excess, about being the fastest, the heaviest and the most confrontational…and to some degree it is, but listen with more open ears and a broader mind, listen to the actual sonic building blocks and you will realise that this is some very clever and ornate music. Music which ebbs and flows within the confines of the musical demarcations that it has chosen to work in. Music which explores the ranges of each instrument and which pushes the boundaries of the genre itself.

There is a saying that less is more. And whilst that might be true of some genres, here the rule is more is more. And if more is more, how great would the sound of “much more” be? Redefine is the sound of “much more” being taken to its logical conclusion.

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