“Death Poems” C46
(Breathe Plastic Records)

The Fifth Alliance offered a promising album cover and an intricately designed cassette tape, housed in a beautifully crafted display box and accompanied by a most useful lyrics insert. For this reason I was excited to pop the tape into my boombox and give it a listen. And it seems I was write to be excited.

I listen to a variety of musical genres, one of which includes metalcore (the figurative “baby” of heavy metal music). For this reason I can never quite appreciate a song featuring all unclean vocals the way I can if it features a few clean vocals, and I’ve certainly never been a fan of sludge metal. However, the first track on this tape broke this dogma of mine. “Your Abyss” features three minutes of build-up to something intense and unknown, then blasts the most perfect screams at you. These vocals are most wonderfully in sync with the elaborate instrumental layout, and the guitarist for this band is without a doubt a skilled one at that.

My only complaint (and a decidedly slight one) is that the vocals were all high-pitched screams, when the music clearly called for growls and deeper, throat-oriented screams.

I rate this album an 8.5/10; there was clear effort and it definitely paid off in a most wonderful composition, and if you’re into sludge metal, this effort surely deserves to be rewarded.

Favorite track: Your Abyss

-- Mansoor Syed