Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Alev - We Live in Paradise CD Review

Remember that girl you used to date back in high school. You know, the one where you really, really wanted to make it work out, but eventually it just wasn’t what you’d hoped? Yeah, you know how it went. You liked the girl a lot and once you finally got together the relationship started off great, but after a while you realized that she wasn’t quite as unique as you had initially thought. You still liked her and wanted to make it work, so you tried to look past the mediocrity and focus on the few cool traits she had. Over time, though, the few things that she brought to the relationship that interested you just weren’t enough to outweigh her utter normalcy and, as much as you wanted to stay with her, mostly because you’ve invested yourself into the relationship so strongly, you knew you needed to find someone more interesting.

That girl, in the current context, is named Alev, and she really wishes you’d have stuck with her. Sure, you had a few regrets once you moved on, but they never were enough to bring you back. You can do better and by now, hopefully you did end up with someone better.

We Live in Paradise starts off so strong with nearly two minutes of instrumental, industrial rock bliss. Sadly, this sets the bar tremendously high for the remainder of the CD and more often than not, the band just can’t reach that same level. The first real song, “Time will Show”, eschews the crunchy goodness established in the first track in favor of a radio friendly metal version of Alanis Morrissette.

It does get better on and off throughout the album, though, but don’t be fooled – there are just as many downs as ups to be found. Some songs, like “Youth (Sleep Well)”, show a mature, methodical mix of emotional metal (a la Cold or Evan’s Blue) and haunting vocals (similar in nature to Within Temptation but less elegant). You can even, at times, feel the spirit of the later years of the now deceased Stabbing Westward seeping into the slower moments, such as the 9 minute epic, “Sweet Lullaby”. Then, unfortunately, there are the myriad of other songs that fall flat.

Too often the band takes on a simplistic, molded for radio airplay, truncated version of their more interesting elements. It’s so frustrating to listen to a band and constantly be stuck thinking, “Damn, they have so much potential, but they’re holding back…”

On a positive note, this CD is head and shoulders above current female fronted radio-friendly bands such as Flyleaf and Paramore, but it really isn’t all that hard to come out on top over such moderately talented competition. Regardless, this release has its moments and that’s a start. If anything, it’s a great diversion to listen to the closing track, “Begun Degismeszek”, which is sung entirely in Turkish, which makes me wish there were more Turkish metal bands around for me to review...

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