As soon as anything becomes cool it inevitably becomes boring. If ever this was true of a musical genre its true of ‘djent’ or at least true of the bands associated with the terms. Now Animals As Leaders are a charting band and djent is in its second and third wave of bands and growing more turgid and tired by the second. I’m pretty sure my general apathy towards ‘the sound’ are exactly what makes Alaya such a compelling listen. It’s not really all that djent.
The occasional odd timings and crunching riffs aside Alaya have much more uncommon with the accessible end of progressive tinged of post-hardcore. Resemblances to Thrice have been banded about the internet but as of yet Alaya haven’t demonstrated the kind of sophistication that defined that band at their peek. Instead “Thrones” is track after track of contemporary metal brimming with instrumental dexterity and soulful melody.
Despite the band’s focus technical proficiency there’s a pleasing sense of spontaneity to parts of this album such as the discordant lead guitars in “White Noise” and the opening of “Grace”. Alaya somehow manage to sound like a real band in room playing, despite the layers of instrumentation and arrangements that dominate their song writing.
Largely this probably due to the stunning vocal performance throughout the record. Thanks to the bands decision to adopt a single lead melodic vocal they’re able to incorporate their sweeping choruses without them seeming cheesy or compromising. Alaya are a band who already compromised from the off, if you consider aiming for accessibility, immediacy and being catchy compromising that is. If you do, that’s fair enough but I’d rather not come to your party if its all the same to you.
“Thrones” is an album for fans of heavy music with a flair for technicality and an ear for obvious and accessible melodies. It isn’t for fans of overt technicality, it isn’t for fans of music that pushes at boundaries that way that real progressive music does, and it isn’t for fans of music that sounds like despair in aural form. Unless those people prefer handsome men in suits to any of those things. In which case they’ll love Alaya.