Aliases – Safer than Reality - 4/5
I've been rubbing my hands together in anticipation for this one; the triumphant return of “Pin” and his new band; the guitarist from Sikth that has been granted post-humous cult icon status on a conquest to return to the music circuit and regain his throne and take a bow before the scene that has since flourished in their wake. Up until the recently announced Sikth reformation it was amongst my most awaited releases (though I will admit a lot of this is for personal nostalgia reasons), to see if in their absence, Aliases couldn't fill a gap and provide the next best thing. It feels important to note that whilst comparisons are to be expected – they do sound remarkably similar after all – there is definitely a different spin to it all; it's almost as though Sikth and Tesseract had a love child, combining the best of Sikth's syncopated technicality and frantic growls, shifting tempo and beat patterns with reckless abandon and matched it to Tesseract's love of epic clean vocal lines and deceptive simplicity. It's complex but so damn catchy.
To illustrate my point, lately I've been having difficulty sleeping. The only thing that I could thing of that I'd been doing differently was listening to this looped on my walk home, and switching to another album quickly saw me return to normal. It's complex and fast paced, but it's also able to stick in your mind; it never feels as though complexity is the sole purpose, comfortable in laying down a comfortable groove and using gentle interludes in a manner such that it never gets so overwhelming that your brain shuts off. It's constantly engaging my mind, even if it's just a brief moment when I recognise a nice guitar riff or drum fill. In fact, it's quite debilitating; I've nearly missed buses. Even as I listen to it now, it's taken me the best part of half an hour to write this sentence because I've gotten distracted and shortly afterwards forgotten what on earth I was planning to write next. The bass lines hold their groove, the drums ferociously pummel their varied lines and the guitarists layer their lines like a crack addict walking in to find his best friend in bed with his mother. At their best this short album, clocking just under half an hour, is so unashamedly engaging, so demanding of your attention and of a quality that you have to consciously fight not to give in. It's an impressive ability, even if it means I can no longer listen to it at the bus stop.
Highlights: The Reality of Belief, The Beginning Has No End, Sirens