Rumbling out of economically troubled Greece is a new heavy metal band, AlphaState with their first album, Out Of The Black. Press material indicates that the band was aiming for traditional Eighties metal sound with modern nuances.
Actually, I think they hit the mark, but maybe aiming too close to the modern angle. The AlphaState sound is definitely built upon aggressive and sharp riffage for a harsh sound common to most modern metal. Sadly, however, Pete Breaker's guitar sounds the same on every song with little to no variation. And more than a few songs begin with buzz of zipper of the pick over the strings and more are often added in a song. He offers decent solos, soaring and generally melodic. Which is to say, that underneath all this sharp riffage is a foundation of classic melodic heavy metal. It's just overwhelmed by the very same riffage. The vocals are slightly muted, but Manos Xanthakis holds his own against the bluster of riff destruction. There are two tunes that aren't all that aggressive. One is the outro, so it doesn't count. The other is Worlds Control, with the first half largely vocals over light electric guitar. Here you discover that Xanthakis has a really nice voice.
But, in the end, because of the redundancy of the guitar sound, everything sounds the same, at least to my ears. With the all the razor sharp harshness, no song, nothing really, stood out for me. Frankly, I'm not even sure if there's any farther AlphaState can go themselves. They've defined themselves and now they're done.
With Out Of The Black, Greece's AlphaState offers heavy metal with a strong modern edge: aggressive and sharp riffage for both a harsh and redundant sound.
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