Ever had a moment of pure clarity and destiny, like you have found purpose and the world makes sense? A feeling so right that there is just no possible failure, only success upon a discovery to realise an opus only hours post that eureka moment.
In English that means that whilst I was in Denmark, in attempt to remain in touch with the music scene and in an effort of wanting to boost the presence of UK bands in to Scandinavia I realised it was probably easier to get Danish bands exposure back home.
That night I won tickets to a local gig at a bar/clubs, V58, birthday party. On my own I stood around watching the first band, a typical pop rock band with a cute female vocalist. Come stage change and four scrawny guys with short hair casually dressed and one bearded guy with no shoes on take position. I had a feeling this wasn't going to be so good. I couldn't have been more wrong.
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No sound check, straight in with 'Dark Rift'. Holy fuck - what an entrance. Mind blown is a quite the understatement, what became apparent is this band are masters of their instruments; beautiful, powerful, hard, loud and soft layers of guitars.
An instrumental Baroness, a more aggressive Mogwai, a more thorough Russian Circles. Have you ever heard a guitar make the sound of a klaxon? Imagine hearing that live accompanied by the sound of rock music creating waves of air powerful enough to bounce your ears drums and brain fluid, but genius enough that it doesn't hurt and you just don't care about the long term damage.
IIIrd Alternative - 'Dark Rift'
What's more amazing is that this band just relentlessly jam together for fun and were convinced into becoming a performing band by friends which led to the recording of IIIA and a live recording of IIIA. The three guitarists each have their own spice with Daniel Zederkoff having hoards of pedal boards, enough to rival a 747 flight deck, for his sounds, atmospherics and jangles, Rasmus Frisenvang lends his bluesy rock solos and Lars Evers somehow slides in his power and speed.
By no means is Hamed Golchin, a djent guitarist, hidden in this beast, melding the bass into place with power and speed in the louder parts and softly gliding in the quiet parts. Meanwhile, tying this together is Simon Meiner, a thundering yet intricate and inspiring drummer who also plays in a country band.
The band tag themselves as post rock where as I would certainly be pushing progressive rock, heavy enough to be bordering progressive ambient metal. Other than that the band will not talk on their influences of bands and style, just simply that they are inspired. And it is quite right to do so, you shouldn't have to validate yourself by another persons work, especially when your own quality is enough to do so.
IIIA kicks off with 'Umbra'; thundering drum patterns with evil undertones and jagged beats. Seamlessly the track slides into a harmonious encouraging track in which the layers of guitars became very apparent. Quickly this track fades into a quiet gentle strum, subtle effects build and the beat comes back in. At the end of a second break down ensues a more sinister build up leading to a heart breaking end.
IIIrd Alternative - 'Umbra (Live)'
Umbra - Live @ Voxhall - Promotional from IIIrd Alternative on Vimeo.
'Eye Against Eye' continues this feeling with an eruption into an aggressive riff and the obligatory slow down. A genius false start to the aggression turns the power back up before fully breaking into the full blown mayhem.
'The Great Flood' is the slowest track on the album, ambient yet hard hitting for the first four minutes - then the air raid hits; a klaxon! (or actually probably the water for the flood). Confusion and aggression leads the way to a slow and another heart wrenching finale with howling guitars.
'Dark Rift' is the perfect set opener with a thundering drum pattern dominating the intro. The initial rhythm follows perfectly where as the what this leads into is a little less captivating and the slow down features an awkwardly out of time pedal-hat. But the strike back up to power is dirty as hell, the bass is choppy and distorted, makes you want to have feral sex. This track is up and down throughout, running like a river between soft straights and turbulent rapid bends.
'Deficit' in it's demanding glory forces you to bang along. Intricate and deep dirty melodies ensue the entirety of the track, essentially pretty much the same pattern/riff throughout yet managing to create alterations and build upon that beat and not be repetative.
'Æble' (apple), the longest track on the album (13:54), has a more subtle start almost as if there's no direction, the uncertainty causes you to make the effort to feel where the riff leads you. The least memorable track of the LP yet none the less equally as inspiring, intricate and heavy and probably the most progressive with traversing scales in four part harmony.
A long quiet section which minutes later you realise it's power built up and you're nodding along then drops to an ambient twanging and strumming, the power doesn't quite recoup and you're left with little closure. As log as it was, the song is left open ended and I feel my satisfaction dissipate.
So maybe a slight track reorganisation would be beneficial, I'd like 4-1-2-6-5-3 but either way you're going to be in awe of this album. Spurred on by quality and not in a rush to release material any less than perfect is certainly a level that other bands should take note to follow step.
Yeah, the music is fantastically written, but listen to this on a decent power system or headphones and you instantly become emerged in this fable of outstanding musicianship. The subtle tones and layers represented add more detail to the story uplifting the music to another level.
There is a general pattern in that the structures which are generally the same, a powerful start, and gentle soundscape breakdown building a crescendo back up to full power but amazingly, and for an instrumental band, every track is unique, you don't miss a vocalist and the tracks take you on a journey and tell you a story. IIIA can be found on iTunes or name your own price on Band Camp.
The play through of the album's launch was recorded for the live version of the album and for DVD, but due to the band's determination for perfection and a lazy director this never camp to fruition other than the Umbra video.
The band however released a limited run of vinyl for the album to 111 copies, released at 11:11am on 11th November 2011.
Sadly the quintet disbanded, I really do hope they get back together as whilst for them it was nothing serious and purely for fun, they have made a big imprint that could go a long way with the right team behind them. In the meantime you can find Simon in One-Eyed Mule (Country), Hamed in Misophonia (Djent) and Lars in Bersærk (Sludge).
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