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Trillium - 'Alloy' (frontiers) 3/5

American vocalist Amanda Somerville is fairly well known in European metal circles, having contributed to albums by the likes of Epica, Kamelot and After Forever in recent years. Now she assembled her very own outfit under the name Trillium and issued this their debut album.

Now as a band Trillium promises lots. Amanda Somerville is a fantastic vocalist, she has an incredible range, and sounds natural with it. She can scream and wail like the best of them and yet shows such sweet control on the quieter sections. On top of that she has assemble a pretty good band around her, guitarist Sander Gommans must be singled out for special praise for his lead work in particular. Add in a great guest performance from Jorn 'Hardest Working Man In Metal' Lande and you have a band and an album that should rank up their along side the likes of Nightwish and Within Temptation as true leaders of the whole female fronted gothic rock / metal genre.

However there is a fundamental flaw with 'Alloy' that not only lets the whole thing down, but at times can be so frustrating that you tend to find the whole thing almost unlistenable. The problem is with the way the vocals are produced. As I said before Amanda Somerville has a wonderful voice, and in the quieter sections of the album such as tracks like Path of Least Resistance and Love Is An Illusion it sits in the mix perfectly. But when things start to get a bit heavier, (and there is a fair amount of metal on offer on this one), she steps up a gear or three, and all to often drowns out the rest of the band. This is most noticeable on tracks like Machine Gun, Purge and especially on Scream It, where the difference between the way Amandas vocals and the aforementioned Mr Landes vocals sit in the mix is very pronounced.

All this is a shame because this is a promising debut from a band that could achieve greatness, but is an issue that must be address if Trillium's potential is to be realised.

A flawed gem

For fans of... Nightwish, Within Temptation, Issa, Mystica etc....

The Amity Affliction - 'Youngbloods' (roadrunner) 3.5/5

Now this one isn't exactly a new release, this second album from Queensland post hardcore outfit The Amity Affliction has been out for over year in their native Australia, but has only just got a UK issue through Roadrunner.

Now to be honest I'm not finding this one overly mind blowing. Rather its a tad generic, most of the songs are pretty samey, they all follow pretty much the same tried and tested commercial post hardcore formula. Lots of nice sweet commercial stacked harmony lead vocals inter-played with the same old hardcore-u-like dirty snarls and growls. Add in the trademark mix of blast beats and slower mainstream metal sensibilities and you get a sound that has been done by a hundred bands before.

Don't get me wrong, TAA are good at what they do, and there are some cracking tunes on offer. H.M.A.S. Lookback for example is a fine slice of angry teen angst rock that stand up along side the very best this genre can offer, Olde English 800 has some first rate riffage on show and closer Fuck the Yankees is as good slice of angry youth rock as your likely to find anywhere. I'm not gonna moan about the musicianship on show either. That is first rate, ok I would like to have heard a little more lead guitar to break up the songs, which tend to be a bit vocal heavy,  but the riffage, the rhythms and the vocals are spot on.

But its all a little too predictable. There are so many outfits doing this sort of stuff that unless you have a trick or two up your sleeves your gonna get lost in the crowd, and that is what TAA are in danger of doing here. They may be huge in Australia (and more power to them for that), but if they are seeking to make a mark on the international scene they need to up their game a bit if they are to stand along side the The Devil Wears Pradas and the Funeral For A Friends of this world.

However, I don't think its game over for TAA, they obviously have the talent to go places and a little revision of their approach and a touch more creativeness could be the push they need to move on to bigger and better things. For after all they are still a young band and must be still viewed as a work in progress.

In short - this is ok but nothing special

for fans of.., The Devil Wears Prada, Funeral For A Friend, AFI, Alexisonfire, Midasuno....