Altona has delivered their first full-length release entitled …And This Is Why We Are Alone. With a recognisable use of classic melodic hardcore components, Altona puts forth their emotional and musical endeavours with tact and composure.
…And This Is Why We Are Alone is a solid ground for Altona to stand on. Though not straying far from the confines of the all feared word “genre”, they engage in a strong and thought over experience in explaining pain, loss and the analysis of self-worth. These topics are commendable and it seems to me that their lyrical content will align with listeners who are searching for recognition of their difficulties.
As a whole, not quite my bag, but as a debut full-length album, this is sure to resonate with some melodic hardcore enthusiasts.
With the soothing tones and dissonant reverb utilised on the introductory instrumentation, Altona provides a captivating entry to their sound. The solemness of this short yet punchy track embodies much of what melodic hardcore – if we are to keep ourselves within the realm of a genre – is known to present. Dreamy drums and noodling notes fill up our ears the same way I fill my belly with wine on Wednesdays, that is to say effortlessly and with intrepid impressiveness. I felt an almost nauseating sense of calm…or was that the wine?
We are met with a fast-paced and unrelenting onslaught of sound. The vocal performances on this track are filled with passionate tones of anger mingling with hopelessness. The screaming vocals – whether intentional or not – engage their listeners with seemingly candid vocal breaks that add a jagged edge to this crispy mix, and I do so mean that positively. Treated with the hard-hitting harmonies of the two vocal performances, Altona presents us with an anthemic chant of screams and singing that goes throughout, highlighting key moments of the track.
That being said in their composition, I was a fan of the dramatic pause inclusion that gave light to a robust and hurtful line of the song, “It wasn’t my fault, we were in love.”
“Day in and day out I walk these once familiar streets. Now, they mean nothing to me.”
Have you ever, ever felt like this? When sad things happen, you’re going down the pits. Altona brings forth an honest and exploratory examination of anxiety and hopelessness. Sleepless nights and feelings that keep you up for no particular reason can be awful. Here, we are met with an earnest attempt to communicate feelings of stagnation and internalised anguish. That being said, listening to the composition musically, it seems that there is a message of hope towards the end. You can stop fighting, or you can push onwards in the pursuit of something better – calmness, joy, or perhaps just that sense of power you get when you have a whole train carriage to yourself and it’s like your own kingdom. It’s the little things.
Musically, “October Sun” does not hold back. This is a powerfully composed track in which the level of instrumental and tonal utilisation to create auditory themes should be commended. It was a pleasure to listen to and I think it may be noted as one of the most musically notable of the album. Hard hitting punk influences mix seamlessly with the well versed melodic hardcore riffs. Some of the most potent screams on the record are used right here, with a significantly lessened occurrence of vocal breaks that add a particular strength to the song as a whole. As an added bonus “Beneath this October sun” is just a hella fresh line to say.
Okay, so like a child who gets excited simply by the sound of his own echo, this song hits a very spectacular spot for me in terms of echo and reverb. A fantastically composed, yet simple interlude that breaks up the album, “Valisoitto” is a welcome change from the heaviness we witnessed in the song prior. It is a soothing and theatrical piece that I could see used in one of those really dramatic “Touching Thai Commercials That Will Make You Cry” videos.
“Searching for comfort in a place so far from home.”
Listening to that killer bass tone shine throughout this track was a blessing. Another well-composed song, the pace relishes in its own time and does not rush its build up. The emphatic riffage taking place within delivers a sense of pain and regret that compliments the base melodies going on beneath. Altona is not afraid of using gang vocals that for sure, spattering them liberally in between several phrases. I sat, I listened, and I enjoyed more towards the end witnessing the transition of this track into something hard hitting and unforgiving in its communicated anguish. I suppose, in other words, very cool.
Acoustic tracks were not something I was expecting from this album. I didn’t quite vibe with it, though it gives a chance for the vocals to have their moment and shine through as a standalone with only a simple backing to emphasise the themes. An indulgent track that takes its time to get to the energetic chorus. It’s fantastic to hear something like this vocally in that it switches up the possible mundanity that can occur when taking on a full-length album.
Yo, straight up? This is an excellent song and on Altona’s part, it was a smart move to release this as a single. The emotive power on display in this song is something to be respected. There are a multiplicity of intriguing aspects at play here from the usage of fast-paced riffs and beefy bass all the way to consistent repeating lyrics throughout that drill a message home. I felt this song and while I have mentioned a few times that I haven’t been blown away, I can absolutely appreciate that this is a scathingly honest song that emphasises a specific aspect of necessity in self-love. It feels like it’s been very well thought through. Or perhaps, to the contrary, as there’s so much raw passion here that one may think it was written in a spur of the moment.
“Everything You Are to Me”
Again, we are met with some further acoustic and unplugged instrumental. However, while this is still “not my bag” per se, it is a chance to experiment vocally with the two features on this track by Nicoline Tunkkari and Ben Matthews. The clashing of vocals throughout which is balanced by some well-spaced piano was an exciting addition to what can be said is an ambitious project.
“My Thoughts (Will Be the Death of Me)”
Absolutely, one of the most prominent songs on the album. I say, “prominent” in the sense that it is a perfect way to finalise a collection of songs – one might even say power ballads of the melodic hardcore genre – that has so far been an amalgamation of varying tunes, tones and topics. Beautifully crafted in its simplicity, this is a testimony to Altona’s knowledge of the genre and their ability to make it their own. Seemingly drawing mild pop-punk influences within this song, it brings a whole lot of fun to the table.
Overall, Altona has a solid debut album here and they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve put out. It may not be my thing and I did find myself tending to see some of the musicality as getting stale, but I can guarantee this album has the potential for an extremely dedicated audience. I expect “October Sun” and “My Thoughts (Will Be the Death of Me)” will become crowd favourites. Lastly, Altona can only go forward from here and they have a good set of tracks to show for it.
At times it was hard to engage in. There were also many similarities from song to song.
Definitely a passionate project. Fits well into the genre of melodic hardcore. Some killer riffs and lyrics.