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Alarum – Natural Causes Award winner

Natural Causes
by Shir Sharon at 09 January 2012, 8:29 PM

“Natural Causes” is ALARUM's third full length album. If you do not know the band it may seem as relatively new but the truth of the matter is that these guys are around for quite some time and their first demo dates back to 1994.

It has been seven years since ALARUM's last album "Eventuality" and whether or not this long hiatus is partly a result of dispute between the band members isn't clear to me but I am certain it is at least mostly due to the musical process which clearly had a lot of thought put into it. After a quick check up I found out that there was also a five year period prior to the other albums so my estimation has an actual basis.

On the surface of things it seems as if ALARUM are only trying to create a spiritual continuation to what ATHEIST did in the 90s (and technically still do), combing between technical Metal and Fusion-Jazz in a similar approach. But as you go deeper into the album you will see that there is far more to it than that. First of all, the Fusion influences go way deeper. The band's Fusion side is far more developed and it derives from a different place than that of ATHEIST in my opinion, but beyond that, what makes this album so unique is the fact that even though the music is insanely technical and the shifts in time signatures are around every other corner, it is at the same time incredibly fluent and beautiful sounding, so in the same breath it targets musicians and regular listener's alike as its prime audience. I think that creating an album which is as complex as this one yet being able to make it highly accessible and easy to listen to is an ability that is next to impossible to master and it indicates a very high level of musicianship. In that manner it reminded me of GUTHRIE GOVAN's album "Erotic Cakes" and that guy is the best guitarist I have heard so that's a very good thing. Vocally speaking I was a bit disappointed, not because there was anything wrong with the vocals, but because in "Eventuality" there was a lot of screaming in a style that  strikingly resembles that of Chuck Schulinder (DEATH are another big influence on the band's music) and in this album they are a lot less abundant.

The highlight of this album for me was the album's closing song "Sensory Endeavour" which is a true instrumental treat, but I also really liked "Shifting Skies like Nothing" which is a great showcase for what this band is about and "Interface" that has a great groove to it and also my favorite riff on the album.

To sum up I will say this is truly a magnificent effort, and I think it is one of those rare Metal albums that even people who are not into Metal can enjoy, I strongly recommend it. 

4 Star Rating

1. Natural Causes
2. Shifting Skies Like Nothing
3. For New Creation
4. The Signal
5. Evspañol
6. Non-Linear Parallels
7. Silent Betrayal
8. Interface
9. Boundless Intent Part 3
10. Senory Endeavour
11. Transpiration
12. Undivided
Mark Palfreyman- Bass guitar/Vocals
Ryan Williams– Guitar
John Sanders– Guitar
Rob Brens– Drums
Record Label: Willowtip Records / Hammerheart Records


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