Based in western Germany come Europe’s newest upcoming band Alazka. After starting in 2012 under the name ‘Burning Down Alaska’, the band have undergone many different changes while performing with artists such as Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside and Northlane. After the release of their debut EP ‘Values and Virtues’ back in 2015 before undergoing a name change to Alazka in March 2017 and announcing their debut album ‘Phoenix, set for release on September 1st 2017.
It’s safe to say that the opening track ‘Echoes’ which leads onto ‘Ghost’ is a great starter for the album. ‘Echoes’ brings a slow opening but also sets up the melodic aspects that Alazka bring to their music. First single ‘Empty Throne’ definitely shows the bands new style which differentiates from 2015’s ‘Values and Virtues’. The emotional impact of the lyrics is definitely present through the screams of the track and certainly sets itself as one of the most impactful of the album.
With the different tracks on the album, there are different paces. While the tracks focus mainly on a quick pace with vivacious bursts of energy, some differ in different ways. ‘Everglow’ seems to hold a slightly different energy. Instead of bringing a heavy and fast pace, ‘Everglow’ appears to be lighter and more passionate in terms of both vocals and instrumentals. This also appears in ‘Everything’ and helps to emphasises that Alazka can change and manipulate the pace of their tracks to convey different types of emotion from fiery passion to heartbroken sorrow.
Second to last track ‘Blossom’ is almost like a transition from Burning Down Alaska to Alazka as it was released as Burning Down Alaska with clean vocalist Kassim Auale before the band transitioned to Alazka. ‘Blossom’ is definitely top of the list for emotional outpouring, as this track is probably one of the most hard-hitting tracks (and videos) off the album itself. Final track ‘Fading Flame’ brings the album full cycle, as it ends on a melodic instrumenal ending, closing the album in a calming way while leaving the impact of the different tracks in your mind.
Sadly, some tracks do get overshadowed by some of the other tracks. While tracks like ‘Heart Of Gold’ are good, sometimes they can appear a little lost, however, even though they’re not as loud or as heard as the other tracks, they still have a spark in them which makes them original and still fit well alongside the album.
While some of the tracks do fade a into the background amongst others, the tracks all have something to offer at some point. With such a change for Alazka it was debated as to whether clean vocals and screams would fit, but most of the time they certainly work well. One thing to be said about this album is that it definitely does not lack emotional impact. A sense of emotion is visible in every track of the album and adds a sense of raw vulnerability to ‘Phoenix’. Make sure to listen to it on September 1st!