Alesana: A Place Where The Sun Is Silent Review

Not many post-hardcore acts are capable of crafting an album that possesses both artistic poise and the heavy components that define the genre, but Alesana does it better than most. Following the chilling original story told with their third album, The Emptiness, Alesana returns with another haunting tale inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the themes of sin and damnation with the release of their fourth album, A Place Where The Sun Is Silent. And although this latest album doesn’t quite match the storytelling pinnacle of The Emptiness, it marks the band’s most diverse effort and their best work to date. From the poetic lyricism and dramatic thematic content to its polished hardcore style mixed with orchestral elements, A Place Where The Sun Is Silent expands Alesana’s sound into something more profound and artistic. At just over an hour of play time, this newest album takes its time in continuing the saga of Annabelle and the doomed artist from The Emptiness, as he wanders the underworld after his demise, despairing in his futile search for redemption and self-acceptance in this “place where the sun is silent.” The creepy voiceovers return along with new spoken Italian intros, giving the listener the feeling of experiencing a tragic play as each twist and turn thrusts the doomed protagonist further into the realm of sin and insanity. Yet somehow, even with these dark themes and ideas being thrown around, A Place Where The Sun Is Silent manages to be Alesana’s lightest and most enjoyable material.

Standout Tracks

“Circle VII: Sins Of The Lion” is one of many intense and well-composed songs on the album, but this epic track separates itself from the rest of the pack with rapid-fire drumming from Jeremy Bryan and jaw-droppingly quick guitar chugging from Patrick Thompson and Alex Torres. Dennis Lee’s unclean vocals are appropriately brutal when they need to be, but don’t dominate the proceedings and showcase how Alesana is one of the few post-hardcore acts that can be accessed by a wider audience. Lead singer Shawn Milke’s vocals are crisp and urgent as the protagonist confronts the lover who betrayed him, yet the chorus is incredibly catchy and the song as a whole displays the band’s high level of artistry and composition.

Lullaby For The Crucified” intertwines the themes of damnation and tragic love as the tormented artist inexplicably longs for his Annabelle, the very person who sealed his doom. He begins to accept his insanity and his fate as Milke realizes “I’m tired of waiting / If there’s nothing that I can do / A pitiful lullaby to sing the tortured to sleep.” Shane Crump’s subtle bass is superb, but may be overlooked by the dazzling and almost bluesy guitar hooks that intricately layer another complex and dramatic track. The drama reaches its peak as the addition of background unclean vocals and another Italian voiceover builds into an epic bridge filled with white-hot guitar riffs, desperate screams and the haunting, harmonizing choir that fades the song out.

The Verdict

A Place Where The Sun Is Silent mixes a variety of influences and genres into their post-hardcore sound, resulting in an intriguing and aesthetically pleasing album that any rock fan can enjoy, which is an impressive rarity in the genre. Alesana took their raw and forgettable sound and polished it up with The Emptiness, but this newest album blows their past work out of the water in every area. Milke’s clean vocals have never been sweeter, the thematic content has never been more compelling and the overall package has never sounded better. From the mix of high-pitched shrieks to the brutally guttural growls that comprise the unclean vocals to blazing guitar riffs, Alesana proves their value as a post-hardcore band. But what elevates them to something more meaningful are the subtle touches of artistry that make their lyrics and thematic content more vibrant, such as the jazzy guitar riffs and big band brass of “A Forbidden Dance,” the harmonizing choir vocals in the background of “Hand In Hand With The Damned” and the strings, piano and female vocals of the beautiful but unnerving ballad “Vestige.” And although Alesana displays their knack for creating epic and haunting songs on the heavier side of the post-hardcore spectrum, the overall sound of A Place Where The Sun Is Silent is lighter than any of their past work. Yet this new album will stand as their most masterful, because when the themes of doomed love, despair and damnation develop into insanity and an ultimate acceptance of the protagonist’s tragic fate (“Insanity is whispering to me”), the result is a prevalently devastating and thought-provoking experience. Fans of Hawthorne Heights, Sleeping With Sirens, Silverstein, Blessthefall, Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans, Motionless In White, Attack Attack!, A Skylit Drive and I See Stars will surely appreciate this band’s exquisite grasp not only on how to fit in with the post-hardcore genre, but how to surpass it for something greater.

Final Score: 9/10

Rank: 1st (four total albums)

Track List

  1. The Dark Wood Of Error
  2. A Forbidden Dance
  3. Hand In Hand With The Damned
  4. Beyond The Sacred Glass
  5. The Temptress
  6. Circle VII: Sins Of The Lion
  7. Vestige
  8. Lullaby Of The Crucified
  9. Before Him All Shall Scatter
  10. Labyrinth
  11. The Fiend
  12. Welcome To The Vanity Faire
  13. The Wanderer
  14. A Gilded Masquerade
  15. The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Marionettes
  16. And Now For The Final Illusion

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  1. #1 by luketarzian on September 24, 2012 - 1:47 am

    Reblogged this on Luke Tarzian.

  2. #2 by Lino on August 7, 2014 - 1:56 pm

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