Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Allele - Point of Origin CD Review

About a month ago Cold released their latest offering, A Different Kind of Pain, which showed the band progressing very strongly in a mellow direction when compared to their previous efforts. The edgier and heavier elements of their sound that was previously a big part of their unique brand of grunge, sludge, nu metal had disappeared and been replaced by a more introspective and tender demeanor. No doubt this pissed off some fans, and validly so -- even though they were making great music, it wasn’t what some fans were looking for. To those disgruntled fans, as well as emotional metal fans, I implore you to go give Allele’s Point of Origin a listen.

Part of the reason, I believe, that Allele sound a lot like Cold is the fact that their lead guitarist is none other than Kelly Hayes, Cold’s previous lead guitarist. Haynes isn’t the only member coming into Allele from a big name band, though. Guitarist Lane Maverick used to be with the oft pretentious metal unit Otep. Fortunately, none of that pretentiousness carried over into Allele.

Now I would be lying if I told you that Point of Origin didn’t feel very strongly Cold inspired, but depending upon who you are and what your feelings are towards Cold’s back catalog, this could be either a very good or very bad thing. In many respects, this is a good thing. The grungy side of the radio friendly metal genre has had very few participants as of late, and none of them have been very strong. Recent efforts by Seether and Smile Empty Soul have had a hard time capturing the market and in their wake, Allele has the potential to show that it is possible to make a good, gritty metal disc in today’s heavily saturated metalcore and emo market.

What Allele brings to the table, that many of their contemporaries do not, is the ability to create a radio friendly sound without totally selling out to the clich├ęs inherent with creating that type of music. All of the songs do follow a basic verse/chorus/bridge format, as well as conform to many of the conventions of the genre, but within those boundaries they excel at what they do. Catchiness is key for this genre and Allele definitely are that.

Sure, there are a few weak songs here and there that straddle the line of being boring or sounding too much like other songs on the cd (or other aforementioned bands), but that is not unexpected. On the other hand, songs such as the leadoff track, “Fake”, as well as “Closer to Habit” and “Immune” show that it is possible to create thought out, interesting, and listenable songs all within the confines of the genre the band has chosen to be a part of.

It’s relatively easy to take one listen to a band that is a part of the radio friendly rock/metal genre, dismiss it as subpar, and move on, but often in doing so you will miss out on a band that does what they do well, and that’s exactly what Allele is -- a band that does what they do well. They know their place, they know their boundaries, and they excel at what they do.

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