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Released: 2002, Independent
2003 is upon us. The New Year in metal has begun and with it comes a stack of releases sitting on my desk that have been neglected because of the holiday season. Well its time to put nose to the grindstone and start getting down to business. The first band on my agenda is the Italian group Aleph. I have in front of me their 3 song release PROMO 2002. The band was formed in 1998 by drummer Manuel Tongi and originally used the moniker Slaves of Time. The name Eleph was inspired by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and his 1952 book “El Aleph”. The group hit the studio in 1999 to record their first demo FALX LUNAE and have followed it up with PROMO 2002 which was recorded at the end of 2002.
Aleph have a style that’s very hard to pin down. Citing influences as diverse as Candlemass, Trouble, Slayer, Kind Diamond, Rush and Atomic Rooster Aleph molds these varied sounds into an interesting mix. The opening track is “Hallowed Hatred”, an uptempo tune that contains a swirling almost Sabbath like riff that gives way to an almost thrashy Megadeth like chorus. Throw in some progressive keyboards and the sound is complete. “Sins of the Fathers” is an amalgam of aggressiveness and atmosphere as the band blends sludgy riffs with almost old school thrash metal breaks that are rounded out with a touch of Iron Maiden with a liberal dose of prog metal thrown in for good measure. This song is clocks in at 9 minutes but because it never stays too long in one place it never gets boring and sounds much shorter than it really is. The promo closes out with the 10 minute plus opus “Crossroads”. This is a more traditional song where vocalist Dave Battaglia can stretch his vocal chords.
Aleph have created an interesting sound on this promo. At times doomy yet at others thrashy with always a progressive feel to the songs. When most people think of Italian bands usually its powermetal and bands like Rhapsody that spring to mind. Aleph certainly don’t sound like any one band on the scene today and mix up their influences quite well. At times I found the songs even a little chaotic but that is more a result of Aleph’s trying to put as many elements into the music as possible more than a lack of creativity. In any case, PROMO 2002 is an interesting listen and Aleph a band to keep an eye on.
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