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Alley - The Weed (CD)

progressive death metal, BadMoodMan Music, BadMoodMan Music
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BadMoodMan Music presents band Alley with their debut album "The Weed"! Young but professional musicians offer for all lovers of hard and smart music perfect mix of progressive and death metal in best traditions of Opeth and Daylight Dies. Bright compositions, professional playing and high quality of record make Alley a part of circle of bright representatives of Russian hard scene. Mixing and mastering of record made in famous studio NavahoHut.

Tracklist:
1 Duhkha 4:44
2 Coldness 5:58
3 Dust Layer 9:11
4 Hessian Of Rime 7:21
5 Fading Fall 10:23
6 Jaded Mirrored 11:21
7 Days For Gray 14:35

Artist:
Alley
Artist Country:
Russia
Album Year:
2008
Title:
The Weed
Style:
progressive death metal
Format:
CD
Type:
CD Album
Package:
Jewel Case
Label:
BadMoodMan Music
Cat No:
BMM. 017-08
Release Year:
2008
Country Of Manufacture:
Russia
Review
Live 4 Metal

With a moniker like theirs, a logo font that reminds me of the style used on 1950s American diners and a band photo on their Metal Archives page that looks doesn't look unlike Hanson used to (in my mind), little did I expect Russians Alley to be a Soviet Opeth clone. In my work as a reviewer the band I undoubtedly hear most in other musicians work is Opeth, where some might use elements of their free-flowing long song structures interspersed with soft, and heavy, sections to create an alternate style. Alley however have seemingly done away with trying to make anything different from it; instead happy to do exactly Opeth do and leave it at that. Thankfully I love all Opeth, especially their darker,
older material and 'The Weed', Alley's debut release, is done with sincere conviction and aptitude to not be a huge problem. After a droning introduction, from 'Coldness' and 'Dust Layer' on there is so little to separate 'The Weed' from an album like 'My Arms, Your Hearse' that I hardly need explain the style on offer here to anyone who knows Opeth (which is everyone, I hope). Points worth noting are the uncanny similarity between the clean vocals of Andrey Evtugin and Mikael Åkerfeldt, which though used less frequently than on recent Opeth outings still show the man has confidence in his pipes. 'Hessian Of Rime' utilises these clean vocals with a tendency for the choir effect in its heavier moments and when required in likes of 'Fading Fall', the occasional whisper of compassion to accompany the softly softly approach in how to clone another band.
'Dust Layer' has a jazzier feel than even some of what the Swedes have to offer and with the final 3 songs being 10+ minutes, Alley don't exactly hurry to reach a song's crescendo. Frequently starting slowly and building up the tempo to glimpses of intense drama, the songs don't follow a conventional pattern, lacking a defined verse-chorus-verse structure like said other band resulting in an album that will take a few listens to fully integrate oneself into. The production is very heavy and punchy with a nice level afforded to the bass in particular that really couldn't leave anyone short-changed who knew what they would be getting themselves into with a purchase of this album. This is a record from a young band with great potential in their musicianship, and if you are able to accept the staggering similarity to one of today's metal giants, there is much to enjoy in it, but for Alley to go far more individuality is going to be required so that future reviews won't be blighted by the usage of another band's name quite so intensively as this one

Author: Ellis Woolley
Review
Blogger Schizo
17.03.2009

Rus firma Solitude Productions’ın bir yan firması olan BadMoodMan Music etiketini alan “The Weed” albümünün kadrosunda vokal/gitarda Andrey, gitarda Egor, bas gitarda Sergey ve bateride Valery var. Kendilerinin bu ilk albümlerinde ileriye dönük iyi işler yapmaya aday bir topluluk olduklarına dair geleceğe ışık tuttuklarını söyleyebiliyoruz. 2005 yılında kurulan Rus topluluğun beklenmedik derecede kaliteli olan bu ilk albümünde progresif metal müziğin sert kanadına karşı bir duruşları var.

Yedi parça ve yaklaşık 1 sa. 04 dk. süren bir albüm ile karşı karşıyayız. Uzun süreli giriş parçası olan “Duhkha” dan sonra gelen “Coldness” ile Alley’nin müziğini masaya yatırabiliyoruz. Bir progresif death metal topluluğu olan Alley’nin müziğinin içinden birçok topluluk akıp geçiyor. Genç ama başarılı profesyonel müzisyenler oldukları için etkilendikleri toplulukları tek bir potada erittiklerini görüyoruz. Yine de Opeth, Daylight Dies, Amorphis ve Katatonia gibi isimleri sıkça andım.

“Dust Layer” parçasındaki akustik işler, temiz vokaller ve acımasız vokallerin karışımı sizlere oldukça Opeth’i hatırlatacaktır. “Hessian Of Rime” çalışmasında benzeri durumları görüyoruz. Aslına bakarsanız bu sözler tüm parçaları için geçerli ve belli kalıpları kullanıyorlar. Ama bu kalıplarla aynı şeyi yaptıkları ve duyduklarını çaldıkları manasına gelmiyor. Neredeyse topluluğun kendi müziklerini tamamen oturttuklarını söyleyeceğim çünkü Alley’i dinlemek çok zevkli.

Alley’nin parçaları esnasında geçişleri düzgün olduğu için akıcı bir topluluk olduğu söylenebilir. On dakikadan fazla süren parçalara da sahip oldukları için her dinleyicinin sıkılmadan dinleyip dinleyemeyeceği konusunda şüphelerim yok değil. Özellikle parça sözlerinin ve müziklerinin altında yatan acı gerçeklerin Alley’nin kendilerini gömmekten yana bir tutum sergileyerek yazdıklarını gördüm. Büyük toplulukların kategorisinde yer alacak derecede iyi müzik yapan ama yeraltı müziğinin diplerinde yer alan Alley gibi isimleri keşfetmekten yanasanız “The Weed” tam size göre!

Author: Kritik
Review
Lords Of Metal

The new Opeth! Now already, hardly one year after ‘Watershed’? I didn’t expect such a nice surprise so soon! Although, is this a nice surprise anyway? While listening to this album a couple of times I tend to think it lacks some things. Sure, the typical Opeth ingredients are present, like the incredible long, epic songs (the final song is with its twelve minutes even long for Opeth-standards), the combination of overwhelming majestic death metal eruptions with subdued, seventies prog-like acoustic guitars, and the growling death metal howls with the fragile clean voice. But where Opeth blew us away with ingenious riffs, unsuspected tempo changes and brilliant melodies, there’s now another vibe omnipresent, which is: “where have I heard this before?”

The music may sound extremely adventurous, exciting and impressive at first; eventually a déjà vu feeling grabs you tighter and tighter by the throat (and ears). This riff originates from ‘Ghost Reveries’, that drum pattern comes from ‘Deliverance’, here we have a song structure that’s identical with one from ‘Watershed’ and there I hear a melody line from ‘Black Water Park’. Etcetera. I also heave heard Mikael Akerfeldt growling and roaring more impressively, just like the clean vocals just miss that fine-shaped elegance which Mikael taught himself on the last couple of albums. Also the intro (messing on a sitar for almost five minutes) is more irritating than interesting. Let’s say that you’re a metalhead that have been in a coma for fifteen years and you’ve never heard of Opeth before, then there’s plenty of music to be thrilled with. But for every other metal soul in this world that’s familiar with Opeth’s oeuvre, this album completely lacks any relevance and purpose. Even in Siberia where four Opeth alter egos created this shameless, yet impressive piece of idolatry.

Author: Evil Dr. Smith
Review
Metal 1
2008

Solitude Productions und sein Unter/Schwester/Keine-Ahnung-wie-die-genau-verwandt-sind-Label BadMoodMan haben sich in letzter Zeit zumindest in meinen Augen gar prächtig entwickelt. Vom eher unbedeutenden Underground-Label konnten sie sich mittels ein paar geschickter Verträge mit eher unbekannten Bands (Mournful Gust zum Beispiel) oder aber auch größeren Namen (Evoken) zur festen Größe im Doom-Metal-Geschäft aufschwingen. So verfügen sie mittlerweile über ein sehr beeindruckendes Band-Roster, bei dem jeden Freund der eher doomigen Unterhaltung das Herz übergehen dürfte. Klar, merkwürdiges Zeug ist auch dabei (man denke nur mal an Opaque Lucidity), aber wirklichen Scheiß hatte ich von denen bislang noch nicht auf dem Schreibtisch, also freue ich mich immer wieder auf Lieferungen aus dem Osten. In der letzten fand sich dann eine CD von einer Band namens ALLEY mit dem ansprechenden Namen "The Weed". Als ich diese entgegen nahm hatte mein Internet gerade die Grätsche gemacht, also konnte ich recht wenig über die Knaben in Erfahrung bringen und einen Promozettel gab's auch nicht dazu. Die Aufmachung ließ mich aber auf eine Doomdeath-Kapelle oder so was in der Art schließen, also rein damit in den Player. Die Überraschung war relativ groß...

An dieser Stelle möchte ich mich erst mal herzlich bei Deviated Presence für jedes böse Wort, das ich je über sie sagte (noch nicht in Review-Form, aber doch an der einen oder anderen Stelle), entschuldigen. Denn wenn man die Bochumer schon eine dreiste Opeth-Kopie nennt, was zum Geier sind dann ALLEY bitte? Opeth inkognito? Der böse Zwillingsbruder der Schweden? So eine Art russische Version von Velvet Cacoon, die Opeths "Blackwater Park" klaute und als ihre eigene CD ausgab? Nein, tatsächlicherweise ist ALLEY irgendwo doch eine echte eigenständige Band, die mit "The Weed" ein echtes Album aufgenommen hat. Dummerweise kein eigenständiges, denn wie schon angedeutet, das Zeug hier klingt so absolut nach Opeth zu Zeiten von "Blackwater Park" und "Deliverance", dass mir das Lachen schon im Hals stecken blieb...

Los geht's mit dem überflüssigsten Intro aller Zeiten. "Duhkha" ist ein cooler Titel, kein Zweifel, aber die vier Minuten, die das Ding dauert, sind einfach nur schnarchig, denn abgesehen von ein wenig Bass-Gedröhne und ein bißchen Rauschen tut sich hier nichts. Keine Spannung, keine Entwicklung, kein gar nichts. Dann langen die vier Russen mit "Coldness" aber schon in die Vollen und fahren alles auf, was Opeth so groß gemacht hat: Versiertes Drumming, technisch anspruchsvolle Gitarrenarbeit, viel Abwechslung, viele Soli, tiefe Growls aus der Kehle von Sänger Andrey (die Åkerfeldt wirklich sehr ähnlich klingen), hin und wieder Klargesang (hier kristalisiert sich der Unterschied zu Opeth raus, der Stil ist der gleiche, aber Andrey klingt doch etwas anders... nicht viel, aber ein bißchen), mächtig bollernde Double-Bass-Passagen und natürlich alle Nase lang Überlänge in den Songs. Ich könnte jetzt das Wort "Plagiat" verwenden und vielleicht noch ein "dreist" hinzusetzen, aber ich denke ihr habt's schon ungefähr verstanden.

Aber wer will den Knaben denn verbieten den großen Vorbildern aus Schweden nachzueifern? Ist ja nicht illegal. Und man muss auch sagen, in dem Rahmen, in den die vier Kerle aus Krasnoyarsk sich selbst reinpressen, gehen sie durchaus überzeugend zu Werke. Handwerklich ist "The Weed" eine feine Sache, die Produktion ist schön fett, die Soli und Lead-Parts sind anspruchsvoll, das Drumming versiert, die Gesangsleistung geht schwer in Ordnung. Es klingt halt alles exakt wie Opeth, aber sonderlich schlimm ist das ja nicht. Wobei ich sagen muss, dass ich Opeth zwar mag, aber nicht für so unglaublich gut halte, wie sie immer und überall dargestellt werden (die letzte CD "Watershed" sogar richtig mies fand). Wer "Blackwater Park" und "Deliverance" mochte, der wird wohl auch mit ALLEYs "The Weed" warm werden, sofern ihm der Stil nicht zu dreist geklaut ist, deswegen verzichte ich jetzt hier auch mal auf eine Wertung, kopiert einfach je nach belieben eure persönliche Wertung für die zwei genannten Opeth-CDs hier rein und ihr werdet wissen, ob "The Weed" von ALLEY euer Bier ist.

Author: Christian Heckmann
Review
Harm.us
14.02.2009

Alley is a new band coming from Russia and they seem to be heavily influenced by bands like Opeth and Daylight Dies not that much by their melancholic doom/death side but mostly by the progressive death metal they perform. "The Weed" is their debut album and contains 7 very good tracks. The opening one is an intro so we're actually talking about 6 long tracks. From the very first notes of "Coldness" you can hear all the influences of the band. They will remind you of Opeth too many times during the listening of the album. At least, Alley, are good musicians and the result is good as this style requires good skills.

To be completely honest i'm not a fan of Opeth and i can't say i'm excited by Alley's music but even if i don't prefer this technical side that much i have to admit that they are very good in what they do. They have a great structure in most of their songs with several tempo changes and many melodies and the excellent production along with the great vocals of Andrey are their strongest points.

If you like Opeth then this is a very good suggestion. If you prefer more melancholic stuff then you can check out some of the other releases of their label.

Author: Bleeding
Review
Metal Observer
2/10
12.04.2009

It has been said that ‘it is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.’ ALLEY, for instance, owe it all to OPETH, yet they dare say that the band ‘creates original long compositions in unusual and varying manner.’ It seems that our Russian pioneers here have to consult a dictionary in order to redefine their erroneous conception about the word ‘originality’. Not only does OPETH seem to be the only oasis in the desert of ALLEY’s barren imagination, but also ALLEY seem rather comfortable leeching the entire inland and seem quite unaware that being inspired by a band is one thing while replicating it is a total other. Comparatively speaking, while other Progressive bands are too claustrophobic to confine themselves to the boundaries of one genre, ALLEY seems to be fully fulfilled dwelling on the virtual terrains of one band and ruminatively chewing the leftovers of its long regurgitated orchids.

Although I am not the most fanatic OPETH aficionado there is, I know that if I want to listen to music that glorifies OPETH, I will listen to music played by OPETH and not by some band whose music is but a cheap copy which lacks the technicalness, the unpredictableness, the logical incoherence and calculated abruptness which give OPETH their distinctiveness and merit. ALLEY is characterless—everything on “The Weed” sounds OPETH-like: the verses, choruses, acoustic riffs, interludes, vocals, vocal lines and, above all, the song structure. Had the Russians intended their debut for the national market; accredited their sound to their idols; and perhaps sung in their mother tongue, I would have partially tolerated their limited approach justifying it by them trying to enrich the musical encyclopaedia of the local public. However, that the band has chosen to go global with such a replica and had the audacity to proclaim uniqueness, I cannot but bluntly declare their absolute failure and resolutely regard “The Weed” as a work of sheer plagiarism that is worth nothing.

Author: George
Review
The Metal Crypt
3.5/10
25.04.2009

Well, this is…odd. Alley are a Russian band who play a highly progressive kind of post-Death Metal. On first listen I hated this, on a second one I liked it pretty well, and now I can't decide. There are things about this I like, and things I really don't. The basis for Alley's sound is a rhythmically complex base of heavy Death Metal riffing laced with long, prog-tinged solos. Vocals are mostly harsh, with an intelligible approach that is vicious without being pukey.

Where I think this album fails is in being too proggy, as they mix in a lot of clean vocals and more chromatic, post-rock style riffage, and these elements do not always work that well. Some of the melodies are quite good, and the clean vocals themselves are perfectly decent, but the upshift from downtuned Death-style riffs to clean, six-string chords for the post-rock bits is jarring, and while sometimes these passages are driving and interesting, sometimes they are just too bouncy and happy-sounding. An overall Cynic influence can be detected, and that's not good at all. When Alley stay aggressive and keep to the Death Metal sound, their intricate riff-style is quite good, but the over-the-top prog leanings are often too much, and the post-rock stylings makes this a quite a schizophrenic album. This disc trades a lot of visceral punch for intellectual posing, and in the end I think it traded too much. This album is interesting, but that doesn't make it great.

Author: Sargon the Terrible
Review
Tartarean Desire
4/10

It’s a depressing and lamentable thing when a band spends years honing its craft, enters the studio, lays down track after track of stirring and artful music, lends it a fine production sheen, presses it onto disc and houses it within evocative artwork, only to wind up with a sum-total loser at hand. Such is the case with Russia’s Alley, a decent enough band of chaps, I’m sure, who are so musically indebted to Opeth that it lapses into out-and-out plagiarism. Listening to this album is an exercise in spotting all the footnote references to the Swedish pioneers’ albums, especially the likes of Still Life and Blackwater Park, where the acoustic licks overlap with hard riffing and wah-wah distortion in the most overtly ‘70s manner within the catalog. But, the fact that I break off into retrospective tangents about Opeth instead of discussing Alley – or, as I shall refer to them henceforth, Alpeth – says much about the latter’s own relative merit. The talent is there, the intention is noble, but that just won’t cut it when the derivation is so damned palpable. In thrash, it’s joyous homage. In prog-death, it’s just bad taste. Other much-needed considerations: losing the pointless intro and sequencing tracks in a manner other than from shortest to longest, which makes this album go on interminably. One thing this band ain’t is boring, but it sure works hard to seem that way.

Author: Matthew Kirshner
Review
Metalrage
5.5/10
02.06.2009

With The Weed, these guys wants us to believe they play progressive death metal. After listening just once to this record I already could strike out the ‘progressive’ part though. In Holland we have a motto, which roughly means in English: “It’s better to steal something good than to invent something bad”. The problem is that these four guys have taken this proverb a bit too literally while writing the six tracks for their debut album. Every song on The Weed is a major Opeth rip-off.

To call them a coverband isn’t the right way to describe Alley, ‘cause that would undermine Opeth’s brilliant music. I guess Alley’s songs are on the same level as the songs Opeth records after an afternoon jamming. The foundation is there, but they still haven’t got the elements that could make a song unique, stand out or even hold your attention for its full length.

Author: Gilles
Review
Brutalism
3/5

This Russian 4 piece and their debut album "The Weed" brings to us progressive death metal with hints of hard rock meets doom combo... This album is a high quality recording,sounds to be professionally mixed and is very smartly presented.Using long compositions in a very unpredictable and unusual manner which tend to give it's listener a feeling or emotion that can be hard to pinpoint in discription. In my opinin this is one of those albums which has to grow on you and some may not be sure of what they really think of it the first go around, I have found that the more I listened to "The Weed" the more I was able to connect with it's mood. "The Weed" is definately worth getting into and I am curious to future works from Alley.

Author: Kindra RavenMoon
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