Reviews, interviews, articles, and other blather about music from the mind of Yugoboy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stolas - Allomaternal


The word "progressive" gets thrown around a lot to describe musicians who focus more on skill and talent over speed, volume or stagecraft.  When both Queensryche and Periphery are progressive then the label, as descriptor of sound and style, doesn't help much.  Las Vegas-based Stolas creates progressive metal more in the Periphery vein than in the Queensryche oeuvre.  The opening minute of the album's first (and title) track strongly suggest the listener is in for an airy new age ambiance experience, floating on classical guitar and a soprano's vocals.
. . . and then they lay the hammer down, switching gears faster than a middle-school girl changes moods, pounding out the heaviest of modern metal, shrieking vocals - courtesy of vocalist s Jason Weiche and Carlos Marquez - and all.  Then, about two thirds of the way through  the song, they switch up to a Faith No More funk metal interlude.
For the remainder of Allomaternal Stolas leaves no doubt that they crank out metal, metal and more metal.  What is in doubt is what kind of metal is coming at you next.  The second song, "Proving Grounds," backs off the balls to the wall metal to provide a more melodic song with some genuinely slow passages.  Jason Weiche and Sergio Medina's guitar work on this album is off the chain crazy good, and super creative.  There's never a dull moment, because predicting the next thing you're going to hear is nearly impossible.
For example, "Claw Point" starts with the extreme modern metal Stolas already demonstrated on "Allomaternal" before reverting to a dual classical guitar and lofty vocals bridge to the next passage.  Over three minutes into the song, even bassist RJ Reynolds gets to get into the act with a terrific little solo, a treat he offered again with a drum and bass duet shortly after the four minute mark.
"Solunar," the fourth song, starts out Numetal before going all the way classical/ethereal and then coming back to the progressive loud standard that, by this point in the album has become the normal resting point for Stolas' style.  From this very metal midpoint, they burst into almost death metal frenzy or classical/new age quiet, and sometimes both, before returning to the progressive metal middle again.
When I say the rest of the album progresses in this manner, this in no way indicates some sort of repetitiveness.  Stolas maintains an ADHD level of non-commitment to a style throughout Allomaternal, never allowing the listener a dull moment.
Allomaternal is a spectacular album, and certainly something any genuine fan of heavy metal should be buying, downloading and adding to their regular rotation.

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