ALETHEIAN SUFFER FROM A.D.D. WITH DYING VINE
Aletheian can certainly play their instruments, and there are some pretty cool musical passages on their Ironclad Recordings / Metal Blade debut Dying Vine, out today — but unfortunately their musical ambitions end up being like a gun to the foot. To be sure, the seeming ease at which these four dudes have honed their crafts is pretty impressive; The Pennsylvania-based quartet work their way around a progressive death metal shell, weaving in elements of melodeath, progressive metal, and classic metal into their multi-pronged attack. But despite the quality of the ingredients, 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 ends up equaling something less than four as Dying Vine — which was independently recorded and released in 2005 — falls short in the songs department. The album ends up being a somewhat tedious 40-minute listen, as each of the ten songs suffers from a severe case of ADD that makes it rather difficult to pinpoint any of them as standouts. I totally “get” the idea of not being bound by writing within a traditional song-structure, but the specific way Aletheian have chosen to defy convention is ultimately to their detriment as there is neither much of anything to latch onto or any groundbreaking, new ideas. Some moments offer promise; the solo in “Open Grave,” middle section of “Call to Arms” and Opethian classical acoustics of “How Could I” (among other songs), but those moments are fleeting and far between. Where bands like Opeth and Dream Theater have done this with great success, as have bands like At the Gates and Death on the other side of the coin — all of whom have no doubt influenced Aletheian — Dying Vine just doesn’t hit the right balance and ends up a frustrating, wandering trip in a large, expansive metropolis.
(one and a half out of five horns)