Alloy... it's a substance made up of two or more metals... See where this is going? 'Alloy' is also the latest offering from Amanda Somerville, the hugely talented American singer-songwriter, best known for her collaborations with Metal bands including Avantasia and Epica.
Due to be released under the name Trillium on 4th November, this album is very different to anything she's ever done before. A combination of beautifully sung melodic rock ballad and Heavy Metal, it's no coincidence that they called the album 'Alloy'.
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Melodic Metal... It sounds like a contradiction in terms, and in some ways perhaps it is. To most people of a metallically minded persuasion, Metal is all about the raucous crash, the hard, heavy raw energy and the way it makes you feel – energised and enthused. Melodic Metal is a real mix of styles that sort of feels like it shouldn't work, but it does.
Just the term Melodic Metal brings back memories of the 1980s so clearly that you can almost smell the hairspray and see the black lace. You may almost expect to hear something reminiscent of Heart's 'Alone'. Instead, be pleasantly surprised (and perhaps somewhat relieved) as the opener 'Machine Gun' hits you with a slowly creeping horror movie sound, complete with police sirens (or is it a WW2 Blitz warning?), that turns into a worthy rock song with a brilliant vocal.
It's an album that is diverse and surprising and one that, even if you think you don't like rock ballads, might still intrigue and eventually win you over. It flows well from start to finish and there are some great riffs and memorable songs.
'Bow to the Ego' is one such track that just seems to get better and better at every listen, even if the highly enthusiastic jangly electric guitar solo cuts the pace for a moment. The vocal, with its urgently imploring "On your knees, You won't get a pretty please, No cure for this disease..." builds to a crescendo and you'll find yourself singing it even after it's finished.
'Mistaken' is slightly more commercially accessible with some evocative lyrics while 'Path Of Least Resistance' is catchy with gorgeous vocals and Sommerville's voice is a pleasure to listen to. The track 'Into The Dissonance' starts slowly and builds to an interesting mix of synthy rock and melodic Metal. 'Scream It' begins impressively like the classical music soundtrack to a feature film before it explodes into the raw and edgy Metallic screaming vocals of Jorn Lande before evolving into a duet with as much passion as it has crash and bang energy.
Overall this is a good album, which in parts sounds like a stage show – albeit some sort of bizarre horror musical. The sound is that big, and the drama and the vocals are all there. The main criticism comes with the predictable and somewhat over-indulgent 'hair-rock' style instrumentals which may leave you momentarily disconnected from the album until the strong and haunting vocal lures you back in.
Here's an album of melodic rock with intelligent lyrics and gorgeous female vocals of impressive range that still manages to retain an intriguingly enigmatic Metal sound. If you like Melodic Metal then you will love this album.
Bow to the Ego
Path of Least Resistance
Into the Dissonance
Slow it Down
Love is an Illusion
Amanda Somerville – Lead and backing vocals and keyboards
Sascha Paeth – Guitars, bass, keys drums
Sander Gommans – Guitars
Miro – Arrangements and keys
Olaf Reitmeier – Accoustic guitar
Robert Hunecke – Drums
Simon Oberender – Keys
Jorn Lande – Guest lead vocals on 'Scream It'.