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Alternative 4 - The Obscurants

Alternative 4
The Obscurants
by Dave “That Metal Guy” Campbell at 11 October 2014, 1:01 AM

ALTERNATIVE 4 is a Downbeat Alternative Rock band.  The name of the band was taken from the eponymous Anathema album of 1998. They describe their sound as coming from a solid rock foundation enriched with painful piano and string arrangements, sometimes on the verge of ambient music, sometimes offering the big influence of the rather dark and abysmal side of PINK FLOYD.  This is the band’s second album, and contains eight tracks.

The opening track, “Theme for the Obscurant,” is very ambient…a few piano notes here and there, and with some long passages of quiet.  A soft melody is developed but it presents as ominous, almost like the theme to “Halloween.”  The whispers in “Paracosm” promise little more in terms of meat, and it has a very despondent sound, despite bring rather lengthy.  Vocally I hear some Michael Hutchence type of influence.  It reaches the level of a rock song with percussion close to the half way mark, but there isn’t much here in the level of melody.

“Returning the Screw” begins in a similar key.  Half distorted guitars are announced to accentuate some of the lower depths.  The first big chorus here does give me a PINK FLOYD type of vibe, but at their most minimal.  “Dina” has a shimmering short of swing to it, with a wooden block keeping meter.  It is a very lamenting piece, as he cries out her name.  “Lifeline” has a pensive but pleasing melody line, and it is a track where they dare to let out a little more in the way of a riff and song structure, while still remaining very atmospheric.  “The Tragedy Shield” offers another haunting piano melody that couples with a more upbeat and positive guitar line.  This track really twists and turns and there is some depth and complexity to the way it is presented.  There is an instrument that I can’t quite make out that has a distinctive Japanese feeling with it.

“Mr. Black” lets the piano and voice make most of the presence in the track.  Closing the album is the aptly titled song, “Closure.”  Once again piano is used to create a certain level of darkness, and the more spirited vocals give heed to that feeling.  Overall I found it difficult to connect with much of the sound presented here, and found the lack of sound in general hard to make much of a review.  I understand that this is precisely the intent within this genre of music however.

3 Star Rating

1. Theme for the Obscurantist
2. Paracosm
3. Returning the Screw
4. Dina
5. Lifeline
6. The Tragedy Shield
7. Mr. Black
8. Closure
Simon Flatley
Duncan Patterson
Mauro Frison
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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