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ALBUM REVIEW: Phoenix – Alazka

Previously called BURNING DOWN ALASKA, German outfit ALAZKA are on the cusp of releasing their first full album under their new name. After undergoing mass changes within the band, including the recruitment of new vocalist Kassim Auale last year, the band decided to change their name to fit their evolution. Much like their change, their new record is titled Phoenix, and we gave it a spin to see how ALAZKA‘s changes have come into effect.

Echoes opens the record up – an almost ethereal instrumental piece, with soft vocals from Kassim flowing into the first full song of the record, Ghost. Immediately, you can hear a change in ALAZKA, and Kassim is arguably the main cause behind this. Clean vocals were a missing element in previous records, and the inclusion of them takes their music onto a whole new level and feels so right. Empty Throne opens with a melodic guitar section from Marvin Bruckwilder and Dario Sanchez, before vocalists Kassim and Tobias provide a balance of clean and harsher vocals to create an emotional, unified sound. The chorus explodes with feeling, and is gripping with the lyrics “I don’t need your excuses, and I don’t need your regret. I just wanted you to understand that I can’t forget” ringing in your ears. The songwriting on Phoenix is definitely a step up from their previous efforts, and it shines. Everglow has a significantly more positive feel instrumentally than most of the other tracks on the record, and is hands down one of the strongest.

ALAZKA‘s focus on the phoenix theme is an immensely appealing part of this record, and demonstrated beautifully in the interlude, Ash. This slow, sad instrumental piece is an elegant and well-orchestrated follow up to the title track, aptly named Phoenix. The transition from a melancholy track to one of such great feelings of triumph are synonymous with the rise of a phoenix from ashes, which is exactly what ALAZKA have given off in this record. The lyrics of the track may not resonate with such a positive feeling; however, you can’t help but get a good feeling out of Phoenix. Other memorable tracks on the record include Blossom, with one of the most powerfully emotive choruses on the record and heart-tugging lyrics, and the closing track Fading Flame, which ends the record with more ferocity than other tracks present on Phoenix. With the exception of the chorus, more harsh vocals are used in this track and it finishes the record beautifully.

Phoenix really demonstrates a change for ALAZKA. An expression of massive evolution and change, their record shows that changing direction completely can be possible, and can be achieved to its full potential if done right. The mix of emotions portrayed in Phoenix are powerful and gripping, making it one of the strongest hardcore records of the year, and the most interesting to boot given the band’s transformation. This could quite possibly be the start of something big for ALAZKA, and we’re very excited to see how they develop in the future as they set out on their new journey.

Rating: 8/10

Phoenix - Alazka

Phoenix is set for release on September 1st via Arising Empire. 

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