Review: Alesana - A Place Where the Sun Is Silent

 Prior to listening to anything by Raleigh hardcore sextet Alesana, my main reason for knowing of the groups existence was hearing frontman Shawn Milke appear as a guest vocalist on the Asking Alexandria song Hey There Mr. Brooks. So my main thoughts were simply that Milke's vocals sounded like a more screechy version of those of Danny Worsnop. However, now is a real chance to hear Alesana sounding more serious than previously heard on their fourth release A Place Where the Sun Is Silent, a concept album with a focus on Dante's Inferno. This is the chance for Alesana to show their listeners what they're really made of.

 With this is mind, the satisfaction level that the album reaches is perhaps a 50/50. The metalcore element that Alesana adopt in this album is impressively solid. The breakdowns come with an almighty strength, musically and emotionally, seen best in the mean guitar pummeling played throughout Beyond the Sacred Glass and The Fiend. Also enjoyable is the screamo influence on Labyrinth, carrying a familiarity to genre pioneers Senses Fail. These moments provide the most enjoyable moments on the album, alongside the hooky choruses and knife-edge spiky punk riffs. It's moment like these that are the moments of pure metallic bliss.
 In the other elements of the album, well... enjoyment is a little more difficult to find. Alesana are one of the many groups that the internet loves to hate for their mixing of metalcore with emo rock. It's a style I've been into for a while, but this album is problematic in this sense. While the common complaint for these bands is that the metalcore element is seen as being weak, on A Place Where the Sun Is Silent, it's quite the other way around. The emo element is taken a little too far without creating a significant emotional impact. Milke's vocals have a tendency to get a little too whiny to the extent that in Welcome To the Vanity Faire they sound similar to Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, and when trying to create a metal album, that's not excactly a redeemable quality. Much more fitting and enjoyable is the guttural and occasionally deathly growling of Dennis Lee.
 So, A Place Where the Sun Is Silent is clearly an album made with a sense of ambition and a point to prove and it has it's strengths and weaknesses. It's overall a very enjoyable listen and shows Alesana at their most passionate and defined. If I may provide any advice, I would suggest that these guys should focus more on their metalcore element for future material, with that, they would have the potential to create a real classic.

 Alesana's A Place Where the Sun Is Silent is out now via Epitaph. The band will tour the UK in February with We Came As Romans.