It may have been a few days since I posted an album review on the site, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to any new submissions! In fact, last week I had a record number of requests come through, so many that I’ve had a hard time figuring out what to do with myself. There’s one album in particular that I wanted to give a shout out to, since its release is coming up later this week. That album is “Escapology” from the Australian alternative/progressive rock band Aronora.
Consisting of Ben Cameron on vocals/guitars/keyboards, Chris Cameron on drums, Ben Croxford on bass guitar, and Netanel Koles on guitar, Aronora will release their follow-up to their self-titled debut album back in 2009. As you can see by the album cover, “Escapology” reflects on the many forms of escape our minds desire over the course of our lives, evidenced by the chains and snakes covering the brain. Much of the album flows from one song to the next, utilizing not only the major rock instruments, but also the flute, clarinet and double bass. These sections where the guest musicians infiltrate are very refreshing, and help change the pace of the album.
Upon first listening to this album, I was extremely surprised by Ben Cameron’s vocals, being much lower-pitched than what I was expecting. Considering the near-infinite number of high-pitched/falsetto singers in the progressive rock music scene, I was immediately shocked as the vocals were introduced in the second song “Fake Escape.” I’m having a hard time thinking of comparable voices (possibly early-Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor?), but it’s interesting enough to warrant a critique. Despite how original it is in comparison to most progressive music, I am not necessarily a fan of it. Not that the voice isn’t good (hell, my voice makes dogs howl), but it’s just not my favorite. I fall into that large group of progressive music fans that loves their vocals high and mighty. But if you are a fan of deeper vocals, then you will definitely have a different experience.
The music itself is unique, an interesting mix between alternative and progressive influences. The synthesizer and bass guitar intro “Vote 1: Anything Else” is amazing, reminding me of a younger version of Rush. The next song “Fake Escape” starts out deep and heavy, which is felt throughout most of the album. The combination of heavy rhythm guitar, deep tom hits on the drums, and the lower-registered vocals are done perfectly, especially with the headbang-worthy chorus. “Disengage” introduces a much lighter and airier vibe with a tremolo guitar rhythm and overdriven solo on top. The song “Drifting Into Insecure” feels forced onto this album, but is strangely satisfying. This 100 second song contains mainly the clarinet and some percussion instruments, a tribal atmosphere that I wished they expanded upon more. The flute solo on my favorite song “One Day We’ll Go” and continuing to “This Is Anywhere” steps up the album’s prog game, reminding me of anything by Steven Wilson. The album closes with instrumental “An Hour A Lifetime, A Decade An Instant,” a slower-paced song with moments of passion and energy. Overall, the album swings back and forth from a slower progressive to a harder alternative sound like a pendulum.
Unfortunately, “Escapology” suffers from one serious flaw. The outro to “Disengage” incorporates this siren/buzzing noise that bends slowly and repeatedly, which continues for several minutes into the next song “Set to Fail.” It’s a sound that reminds me of the same noise in Tool’s “Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)” from their album “10,000 Days.” Anyways, it is so loud and intrusive on this album that it almost gives me a headache when listening to it. It’s sad, because I am forced to skip “Set to Fail” in its entirety because of this disturbing tone. If you are able to bear through it until the song’s halfway point, then you’re treated with a passionate collaborative effort from the band minus the siren! Aronora chose this song to be their single off the album as well, so I am hoping that relentless noise doesn’t hurt them while promoting the album.
If you’re looking for a decent progressive rock album to add to your library, then look no further. Aronora’s “Escapology” has its ups and downs, but it’s a listenable release from the band. You can support Aronora by checking their music out on their Bandcamp page and webpage, or by following them on their Facebook page for band updates. The album is due out this week, so stay tuned!
Enjoy a complimentary listen of “Escapology” through Bandcamp below: