NEW ALBUM: "The Moon has Fallen" (ALITHIA)
ALBUM: The Moon has Fallen ARTIST: AlithiA
2018 has maintained a steady flow of exciting releases in the progressive sphere, but few have truly soared and smashed expectations quite like the upcoming sophomore album 'The Moon has Fallen' from Melb prog leviathans Alithia.
Marking the first record written collectively with the addition of percussionist Jeffrey Raul Ortiz Castro, 'The Moon has Fallen' is an eclectic wonderland that seamlessly weaves Latin rhythmics, eerie synths and emphatic riffs without losing focus. On paper these combinations would perhaps call to mind a pretentious and chaotic end product, but fortunately the AlithiA lads have perfected the ability to impart insight into their innovative psychadelic tribal post-prog rock - and this release is without a doubt their most enthralling yet.
'The Moon has Fallen' kicks off with 'The Sun', a nearly 11 minute opus that scatters trilling guitars over dreamy synths and tight, interlaced textures. What starts off as possibly one of the best post-rock pearlers to appear this year jumps in halfway through with the familiar tones of lead vocalist John Rousvanis, layering swooning vocals over the Blade Runner-esque droning. Up next we get 'Empress', still heavily flying the flag for the synths, and busting out some percussion pandemonium with a dollop of Latin beats, sweltering basslines and the occasional electronic breakdown for good measure.
Following on, 'Diamonds' drops into moody-town, cracking out some deep grooves over the imposing bass of Tibor Gede, before 'Blood Moon' quietly announces itself with seductive beats and ethereal synths beneath raw and striking vocals.
Slowly leading to the finish, 'Three Eyes' and 'The Knife' up the emotive theatrics with dramatic piano and syncopated melodics, while 'Breathe' showcases Rousvanis and his uniquely compelling and poignant range over a breath-taking 8 and a bit minutes. Closing proceedings is 'Faces in the Leaves', a slow melodic burner that disappears at time into an ambient abyss, but ultimately brings the stirring journey to a fitting close with its swirling guitars and beseeching vocals.
Appropriately recorded in Athens, Greece (with the name AlithiA itself meaning "truth" in Greek) there's a lot to digest and explore with 'The Moon has Fallen'. At times there's a risk of falling too far down the sonic rabbit hole with the walls of sound crawling dangerously close to muddying out, but somehow AlithiA always seem to be in control of their limits and scale back the noise just when it starts to bleed out - a feat many bands spend a lifetime trying muster.
Overall, 'The Moon has Fallen' pummels astral acidity with poignant prog, and it's impossible not to fall head over heels into the bewitching world AlithiA have created with this latest release. The moon may have fallen, but AlithiA are on the rise yet again.
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BY TIANA SPETER