Review: Benjamin Coe
It has been a great year so far for Adelaide rockers, Alt., with a slew of support slots on some high-profile tours including Saosin and more recently Don Broco, all while the boys from the south gear up to release their debut album, ABEYANCE. The follow up to their critically acclaimed 2021 EP Dysfunctional, ABEYANCE marks a new era for the band and a sonic shift in how they present themselves. Having drip-fed their loyal fanbase with a platter of killer singles, it’s fair to say that anticipation is rife for this offering.
Where Dysfunctional showcased an emotional and somewhat sensitive side to their songwriting, ABEYANCE takes all of that and ramps it up all the way to 11. The riffs are heavier, the rhythms are chunkier and the vocals are next level. Singer Daniel Cullen-Richards is in fine form, laying his soaring highs and brutal screams over track after track of heart-bleedingly honest music. From opening track PARASITE to the beautiful closer of BETTER OFF LEAVING, he wears his heart on his sleeve and presents a collection of highs and lows and everything in between experienced in this crazy little thing we call life.
As stated previously, this album is a departure from the soundscapes of their earlier material but in no way an alienating one for old fans. There’s still that familiar Alt. sound that we’ve come to know and love only now it’s delivered with not only a touch more aggression but much more sincerity and confidence. Whether this is due to the numerous line-up changes over the years or just a by-product of time spent relentlessly touring at every given opportunity, it has most certainly paid off in the best way possible.
And the friends they’ve made along the way are here for it too, stand-out single APEP features an excellent guest spot from Void Of Vision’s very own Jack Bergin who adds yet another layer of intensity to an already balls-to-the-wall track and one track, BACK TO EARTH seems to borrow from the more dance-centric sensibilities of tourmates Northlane. Still a relatively young band, it’s good to see Alt. branching out and experimenting with their sound while staying true to their roots.
And I would be remiss in my duty as a reviewer if I were to not talk about the lyricism and subject matter dealt with on this release. Honest, straightforward and 100% heartfelt are just a few of the words that describe Cullen-Richards’ magnificent skills as a lyricist and vocalist as he pens tales of struggles with mental health (a more and more prominent problem in modern society), relationships and the day-to-day dealings of a world gone absolutely mad. His songs are gut-wrenchingly relatable and the way they are sung makes them just that more impactful. His talent is undeniable.
With hooks galore and epic choruses that will undoubtedly inspire many a sing-along, ABEYANCE is an incredibly solid debut album that will hopefully lead to the attention that these boys rightfully deserve.
ABEYANCE – OUT FRIDAY 16 JUNE