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Altruism | ‘Internal Dialogue’

Some bands reach far and achieve amazing things. Some over-reach themselves, and don’t. Co Cork’s Altruism dont disgrace themselves on this lengthy and ponderous demo, which takes in all manner of prog metal influences, but neither do they truly shine. The reason is that they seriously need to refine what they’re trying to do.

The band have a list of influences as long as your arm, accurately taking in everything from Burnt By The Sun to King Crimson. The majority of the time they sound something like Ephel Duath, inasmuch as there’s about thirty ideas clanging about one after the other and little sense of flow. Locallly, they’re not entirely dissimilar to Era Vulgaris, if a bit more off the wall.

That they have ideas and are willing to use them is evident. They must learn though to rein them in, and to create songs that are more concise, distilling the best of those ideas into sections of real punch. Tracks like ‘The Cul De Sac Of Monotheism’ really do show them at their strengths, with a nice harmonic vamp leading up to a great final crescendo. This one opens well, much in the vein of the aforementioned Burnt by The Sun. So they can do it when they try.

The rest however is overlong and disconnected. The band’s kaleidoscope of influences are audible all at once, leaving a distinct tone of their own difficult to find. The vocals are left somewhat pointless within this mix. Agenda, reason and indeed the very lyrics are more or less impossible to make out. What’s the point of making music if you dont articulate what it is you’re trying to say?

It’s not bad gear. Their playing is dead on and their better ideas are very inventive. They just need to sit down, have a long and frank talk about what kind of music they really want to make, then go and do it. If the result of that conversation is what’s on this cd, then good luck to them. ‘Catch 33’ will elude them for a while yet, though. Pare it down, lads.

Earl Grey ::: 29/06/09

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