Release Date: 27th August 2021
Record Label: Exile On Mainstream Records
For Fans Of: Kyuss, Deftones, Thrice
It’s a shame that Sons Of Alpha Centauri aren’t as prominent a name within the alternative/metal scene as they should be. Despite having worked with some incredible collaborators (Aaron Harris and Scott Reeder, to name but two), the band have remained underground. And yet with their latest record, they have undergone one of the most significant and boldest changes a band can experience: adding vocals to their once instrumental sound.
While any changes regarding vocal presence near always results in a before/after divide among fans, it is not always the case that the ‘after’ period is a decline. Night Verses became instrumental on album number three, with many fans citing it as their favourite material, and while the quality of Phil Collins era Genesis is debatable at times, one cannot deny the band enjoyed more success than they ever did under Peter Gabriel’s leadership.
On Sons Of Alpha Centauri’s third full length release, titled Push, the band welcome the addition of vocalist Jonah Matranga, most known from Far, as well as a second drummer in the form of Mitch Wheeler of Will Haven fame. As a result, the influence of two acclaimed names from the alternative metal scene has impacted the band’s hitherto instrumental sound. Without stating the obvious, the sludgy, grunge tinged sound of Will Haven springs to mind when listening to Push, which will surprise long term fans of the atmospheric, spacey sound the band have established.
The defining characteristic of Push is how 90s it sounds. Nestled somewhere between grunge, stoner, and alt rock/metal, Sons Of Alpha Centauri have proven their versatility with a mighty leap of genres. Not only do the fuzzy, sleazy guitar riffs of grunge dominate the record, but Matranga’s vocals evoke the lethargic yet soulful tones of Chino Moreno, even down to the slight vocal fry on some of the elongated notes. Such a comparison is most notable on closing track ‘Own’, which instantly brings to mind the finale found on White Pony, ‘Pink Maggit’, with long, drawn out distorted guitar accompanied by Matranga’s emotive, strained vocals.
What is most impressive about Push is the restraint shown by the instrumentalists of the band. Despite being used to having no vocals to contend with, the core members of Sons Of Alpha Centauri step back, leaving room for Jonah Matranga to weave beautiful melodies boasting his strong vocal presence over the top of a sturdy rhythm section. No doubt having a long history of being instrumental has given the band the edge when approaching the decision to include vocals, as they are able to provide a solid instrumental foundation that will not falter under even the most elastic moments of Matranga’s performance.
Whether Push marks a turning point for Sons Of Alpha Centauri, or simply an experiment and opportunity to work with a vocalist, only time will tell. Listeners may be shocked at the notable change, but only the most stubborn of instrumental fans will turn their nose up at what is another impressive instalment in the band’s catalogue.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Get The Guns’, ‘Push’, ‘Dark Night’
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