Within The Clamor Of Voices

The Alea Dilemma

Aleatorik, 2015

http://www.thealeadilemma.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/04/2015

Ever wondered what would happen if Rush and Faith No More met up with a jazz bassist? Wonder no more.

That's not to say that the debut from these guys is near the level of Rush greatness yet, of course, but recall that Rush's debut wasn't really much to speak of either outside of a couple tracks. And yes, boiling down a debut to its influences is easy and lazy, but it's the day after Thanksgiving, so give me a break.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Alea Dilemma is a power trio, which is pretty cool to begin with, and the Rush comparisons come in not just in the guitar roar and off-kilter songwriting but singer/mastermind Danny Brymer's voice, which easily hits the Lee-esque high notes.

What sets Alea Dilemma apart from most modern prog is their embracing of jazz; specifically, Ryan Sloan's bass work, which is stellar in its own right, but which uses jazz chords and progressions, especially in the bridges of these songs. In addition, a strong Faith No More vein runs through these songs along with the barest hint of mid-period Stevie Wonder.

"Id" compresses these disparate elements into a cohesive, fascinating whole. Something like this would never get mainstream radio airplay, but those who look beyond Rock Radio 107.7 The Boulder for their music will find something on Voices different and deep. As with most progressive rock, the trick is to combine virtuoso playing with memorable melodies to avoid the appearance of showing off, and while the band isn't quite there yet, "Id" shows tremendous promise. 

"Betrayed Brilliance" is good, too, starting as a modern electric jazz-rocker before switching gears to a late ‘80s arena rocker, while "The Catalyst" is strongly written and confident arena rock, with a Vai-esque guitar solo to boot. "The Machine" goes for broke with a 10-minute tune that Dream Theater would be proud of; like most of the disc, it is technically impressive, but not terribly memorable. "Survive Another Mile" is a fine closer, featuring spooky piano intertwined with midtempo rock portions and a very good solo – probably the best on a disc with a lot of them.

Voices is worth seeking out for fans of prog-rock, ‘80s arena-rock or guitar hero rock albums (so, Rush fans). Here's hoping we hear more from these guys soon.

Rating: B

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