Alpha Galates - A Stimulus For Reason
Modern Progressive Rock / Metal
12 songs (68'00)
Release year: 2008
Alpha Galates, EMI
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Progressive rock really has been given a facelift over the last few years with bands like Coheed and Cambria and 30 Seconds To Mars bringing fresh new sounds to an otherwise seemingly stagnant and "dinosaur-like" genre of rock music. The complexities in arrangements show similarities to the past greats in the genre, but a newfound energy and modern feel has brought about a renewed interest in progressive music again. Alpha Galates, a Toronto based band, is about to release their debut album this week and all the buzz about this band in the Canadian press seems to suggest that this band is Canada's answer to the new modern progressive rock movement.

Alpha Galates is a band that is very hard to categorize. The rich vocal melodies bring bands like Spock's Beard to mind yet the more harsh screaming vocal style gives the band more Tool like qualities. The abstract style of Robert Fripp and the newer King Crimson sound can be heard with 2 Months In, a song that also features some chunky heavy metal guitar and an "angst" ridden vocal by drummer/vocalist Matthew Wagner in a very loosely structured arrangement that even has a healthy dose of psychedelic overtones. The heaviness of Tool also makes brief appearances especially with tracks like Natio (the first single) and Love Despair; a track that moves from more of a classic prog rock feel complete with a rich layered sound and very Rush like "jangley" guitar chording to wild, chaotic and aggressive guitar riff-laden instrumentation for the final half of the song. Standing sees yet more chunky guitar sounds in a track that has a great melodic sense yet very modern in it's screaming vocal style. The same can be said for The Darkest Eyes with it's dark and heavy feel yet very emotional vocal and strong melody. More psychedelic sounds flow very easily through the songs Obitus and Passion with the latter featuring some very nicely done acapella vocals. The last three songs on the album feature some very tasteful and very well done guitar harmony work by guitarists Todd Lefever and Rowan MacPhail as well as more traditional heavy metal riffing. Subliminal even slides in a cool Megadeth like thrash metal riff interlude and Dave Mustaine-like spoken vocal in an otherwise very chaotic arrangement. The finishing track, Entropy and Chaos features big, thematic and powerful riffs and a Rush like guitar/bass/drum syncopation. Aggressive and heavy with a more modern vocal approach, it has some "jamming style" interludes, lead trade-offs, amazing harmony lead work and an overall crazy arrangement. The ebb and flow of this track brings classic Yes epics to mind.

Alpha Galates is a musical chameleon of sorts, changing its colours at will and often many times within a song. They have formulated a brand of heavy progressive rock that shows great musicianship yet doesn't get trapped in being too overly technical for the sake of being technical. The guitar work is very solid with an abundance of tasteful lead guitar and lead guitar harmonies. There's a touch of psychedelic overtones in a nod to the late 60's or early 70's prog rock yet with enough aggression and heaviness to fit the mold of a modern band. Combine that with both spacey, melodic vocals and metalcore like screams and you have a band that has all the bases covered to attract a very wide audience from a variety of musical preferences. Judging by the anticipation of this brand new album, we could very well be adding the name of Alpha Galates to the list of some of the top new modern progressive rock bands very soon.

Killing Songs :
Standing, The Darkest Eyes, Subliminal and Entropy and Chaos
Marty quoted 80 / 100
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