Alarum - Eventuality
Earache Records
Progressive/Jazz Metal
15 songs (42:31)
Release year: 2005
Earache Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Australian Prog-Thrashers Alarum form their music around the riffing of guitarists extraordinaire(s?) Mark Evans and Scott Young that seamlessly merges melody and brutality. Mostly the band is influenced by American Jazzy Death Metal legends Atheist, frontman Kelly Shaefer having even performed vocals with them on a Piece Of Time cover in mid 2006, and Alarum do an excellent job of taking that form of Metal in a different direction, ensuring Eventuality is something worth appreciating for itself instead of being a mere tribute, although there are nods aplenty to giants of the Progressive realm from Rush (even naming Cygnus X-1 after a track on the Canadians’ A Farewell To Kings masterpiece fifth album) to Meshuggah.

Although it’s obvious that the band are highly skilled from the second that opening track Velocity starts, Alarum are much more than mere show-offs who only appeal to musicians, the music being instantly catchy yet taking many listens to appreciate fully. This is easier on the ear than the at times rather bewildering Metal of Atheist, as although Alarum use the same large amount of time changes as the Americans, there is a greater emphasis on melody with a large part of the running time given to interlude tracks (such as Audio Synthesis and Boundless Intent Part One) of gentle noodling, providing a rest from the Jazz-infused riffing that makes up the main part of the album. What provides the heaviness on Eventuality for the most part is frontman and bassist Mark Palfreyman’s harsh vocals, very much alike those of the aforementioned Kelly Shaefer. Although this makes the odd cleanly sung vocals more effective in their rarity, more would have helped to individualise the band a little better, especially since his clean vocals are so good. There’s a large variation in the vocals despite that, with various effects making themselves known (such as on the first half of Remote Viewing) without ever going over the top.

Most tracks are hard to tell apart without knowing them extremely well, although the aforementioned opening song is a standout, as is the closing Meshuggah-meets-Cynic riff whirlwind of Reconditioned. Inertial Grind pretty much lives up to its name, mixing relatively harsh, well, Grind riffing and otherwise rare blastbeats (the drumming on the album is spectacular) with an almost over the top chorus. Everyone will find their own favourite point of the album, however, and it lives up to repeated listens, offering up something new each and every time. If you own all three Atheist albums and pine for more, or own none and want an introduction, this is well worth a listen. Even if you're a defiant deist, one listen to Alarum's soothing (it's a wonderful album to space out to) rage and you'll be converted.

Killing Songs :
Velocity, Sustained Connection, Receiver, Remote Viewing, Inertial Grind, Throughout The Moment, Woven Imbalance, Reconditioned
Goat quoted 86 / 100
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