Independent Release

Review by Lithium

For those who are old enough to remember, 1976 was a year in which neckties were wide, shoe soles were thick, and guitars were fuzzy. With Ozzy at still at the helm, Black Sabbath was busy polishing the newly forged template for what we now call metal. On the other side of the Atlantic, Motor City Madman Ted Nugent was well on his way toward undisputed kingship among guitar-hero showmen. Meanwhile, in Canada, Rush was making important contributions to progressive metal while compatriots Heart were doing the same for what eventually would become metal of the female-fronted variety. Such is the backdrop for “Fledgling”, the five-track demo from Alerion. “Fledgling”  is a rather eclectic assortment in which this Dutch five-piece’s versatility and musicianship are on full display. Not only can each of the aforementioned influences be heard, but the year 1976 itself is included in the title of the opener, “Hindsight (1976)”. Alerion’s basic approach is guitar driven from start to finish, but with plenty of progressive twists and turns along the way. On the three original, full-length songs the guitars sound similar to Rush in some places, while descending into heavier, Sabbath-like riffing in others. Though all three songs feature some decent guitar work, “Ruins” includes a particularly fine solo of the clear, rock ’n’ roll style reminiscent of Ted Nugent. “Dragnipur” has a slight psychedelic edge and features dual guitar solos. Rounding things out is “Estrangement”, a brief, string-driven instrumental with a keyboard accompaniment that intensifies its ethereal atmosphere. The final song is a cover of Megadeth’s “She-Wolf”, which nicely showcases Alerion’s command of their instruments. The drumming in particular is very good throughout this demo and effectively unifies all of its disparate elements into much less of a patchwork affair than it otherwise might have been. The nature of progressive metal is such that even the best of vocalists sometimes have difficulty hitting all of its required notes without sounding slightly off at times. So, it should come as no surprise that the singing is perhaps “Fledgling” ’s weakest aspect. Vocalist Romy at times appears to struggle with the material and generally does not seem comfortable. This is most apparent on “Dragnipur”. Though Romy seems most at ease with a laid-back, Geddy-Lee vocal style, the music on this demo is so diverse that such a style does not always fit. Also, though Romy is no Geddy Lee, even Geddy Lee is not Geddy Lee all of the time. Clearly, Alerion is a promising young band with plenty of potential. With the right vocalist, their strong musicianship now affords them the opportunity to better define their sound by shaping the music to fit their new singer’s unique strengths rather than vice-versa. “Fledgling”  is available for free download in its entirety from the band’s official website. Male Vocals: Background only, clean, very limited. No growled male vocals.

No Rating

 

Tracklist

  1. Hindsight (1976)
  2. Enstrangement
  3. Ruins
  4. Dragnipur
  5. She-Wolf

 

Line Up

  • Romy Muste – Vocals
  • Bas Willemsen – Keyboards
  • Bas Willemsen  – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
  • Wijb Sommer –  Lead & Rhythm Guitars
  • Ronald Van Schaik – Bass
  • Arno Veldhost – Drums 

 

Links

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