It’s generally not my place to wonder why, when it comes to band names.
But I couldn’t help noticing that Alpheidae is the name of a shrimp whose main gig in life is having one claw much bigger than the other. The Pistol Shrimp, it’s known as.
It has some pretty impressive skillz, in being able – with this one massive comedy claw – to create a sonic boom underwater (check it out), stunning its prey before dragging it into a watery tomb for some Cannibal Corpse dinner action.
Dont say you learn nothing on MI.
Anyway, this quirk of bio-mechanical awesomeness tells us a little about the band that are its namesake. Alpheidae, you see, have a pretty stunning effect themselves.
They know how to use air. Pressure. Force.
Their interlock of guitar, bass, drums and indeed vocals is such that it forces bursts of power forward not so much into your eardrums, but your face. You know, like when bands just have it down.
Tight As Atheos
I dont think I’ve heard some Irish tech metal as cool and tight as this since Atheos, and certainly there’s a lot in common here.
They’ve practised so hard that they’re like glue with each other, meaning that when the (fantastic) rhythm guitar goes walkies, it does so in the full knowledge that the rest of the band are in unison at the back.
And indeed it is the rhythm guitar that is the star of this show, in all its variety of voices.
I can hear the likes of Aghora and Textures in here, as well as some of the better Djent names.
‘Altruist’ and ‘City of Knives’ do well to establish what’s a common theme across this demo – a sort of skippy insistence from the main guitar that pushes the rest onward in terms of seemingly prodded beats nudging forward where they wouldnt otherwise.
This culminates in the absolutely, flat out brilliant ‘The I In All’, where this technique is taken to its height – that pressing, incessant skip beat forward placed first over some nice tinkling clean notes, then some decidedly Frantic Bleep style lead tickles (remember them?) before resolving into some quite amazing chords with a pacing double kick beneath.
So, so cool.
Fluid As Faceless
‘New Beginning’ could be off the last Faceless album, so fluidly does that lead guitar lick its way, before climbing and descending staircases of riffery.
There is so much to love about Alphidae – their whole approach, whether its that airily percussive force that I talked about at the start, their energy, their chord choices, the freedom with which the guitar is able to both direct and colour events (and again, it’s the star here) or just their general intuition for what the right thing is in a song.
They’re working at a damn high level for a debut release, and there really isnt too much more they can really do to improve except to do more of this.
The vocals could be a tad more immersive – as ever, harmonies would work wonders, but there’s not really a great deal else to ask. ‘New Beginning’ shows where they can go when they want to: there should have been much more of this style.
It’s nothing short of fantastic however, and deserves to be heard by everyone. A class tech metal workout, and another great set of Irish musicians to be boasting about.
Total, tech metal quality.
– Earl Grey ::: 08/09/16