The Fifth Alliance - Death Poems
ConSouling Sounds
Post-Hardcore Atmospheric Sludge
4 songs (35'36")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Alex

You can be forgiven if you think Death Poems release by the Dutch crew The Fifth Alliance will go by way of their famous countrymen The Gathering. The opening sequences of Your Abyss bring that much atmosphere and serenity, but it can be so deceiving … Pretty quickly one can realize that The Fifth Alliance won't be all that gentle and welcoming. Instead, guitars slowly freeze in place, like a cold rain under the collar on a frosty day, with chord distortion growing and then establishing itself firmly. You are also allowed to think that the first notes from vocalist Sylvia's mouth are just warmup, and she will hit the proper key very soon. That hope never materializes either, and Sylvia becomes a wounded, raging siren, a lot more Jarboe than she is Anneke Van Giersbergen. By the time Your Abyss hits all of its cylinders there can be no illusions anymore. Instead of soft, ambiance filled metal The Fifth Alliance is lumbering post-hardcore post-rock post-everything atmospheric sludge. And so the battle between gritty and harsh will rage against dark and emotional, neither side prevailing in the end, drained in one emotional tie.

The issue, of course, is not what Death Poems should be attributed to in terms of style. Most importantly, is it any good? Fall of Taira and the title track don't wait around like Your Abyss does. The band plunges into their viscous coldness right away and the struggle between lumbering guitars and restless Sylvia continues. She is wailing about her loss, they press on forward undeterred. The Fifth Alliance music is consistent, determined and stubborn. It will definitely envelope you, dissociate from the sense of reality, at least temporarily, but at times you will feel your mind drift, Fall of Taira and the title track becoming background stretchy fabric. Definitely suitable for fans of Isis or Neurosis, Death Poems is methodical in its purposefulness, which can make it a little stagnant. In that light the closer Dissension receives the needed shot in the arm and is practically vibrant compared to the middle of the album. There is some tempo to the drums and guitars put a tremolo on their melodies, so the composition has a definite flow.

It just so happened that Death Poems got stuck in my car player, not by design, but because I kept forgetting to refresh the repertoire. Almost unwilling then I had to experience the EP many times over. Interestingly enough, it did get better being ready for it, since instead of waiting for the action to come I could concentrate on the intricacies of what I heard at the moment, imbibing in all the tense emotion spilled by this release.

Killing Songs :
Your Abyss, Dissension
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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