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Good, but missing something... - 85%

asmox, November 15th, 2006

Comparisons to Atheist and Cynic are inevitable, though I personally don't believe they're entirely deserved.

Both Cynic and Atheist had something that Alarum does not - mood and atmosphere. You could almost feel something mystical and transcendent going on in the backdrop on "Focus".. you could feel the spastic aggression on "Unquestionable Presence". On "Eventuality", all you can hear is perfectly executed technical almost-metal with ambient acoustic interludes that pop up every now and then but don't serve any particularly meaningful purpose.

The playing is excellent on all accounts - the guitars are all over the place, from thrashy riffing and wild soloing to jazzy chord progressions and tranquil acoustic pieces; the bass playing is top notch and very audible, which was a huge relief; the drumming is nuts, as you would come to expect in the technical metal world.

Then come the vocals, which are my first point of question. Sometimes the guy sings in an awkward clean voice over some acceptably heavy shit, and then out of the blue he'll start screaming and raging over something that might have trouble passing as metal in the first place.. at least to some people. It doesn't make much sense.

Then there's the production. It's clean.. so clean.. and so not conducive to a genre such as this. I'm not saying that I like shitty production.. in fact, I love the wonderful instrument separation and crisp sounds that are found on Eventuality, but I think it could have been a bit beefier to get some more of the heaviness across. Also could've been more dynamic.

Basically, I look at Eventuality as a sterile version of Atheist in their later days. Very good, but could've been better.

Listen with an open mind - 75%

Axis_Corpsefucker, September 17th, 2005

Superb musicianship executed through clear but muffled production in the jazz metal style pioneered by Athiest and Cynic. Amazing musicianship combined with strong varied song structures with experimental attributes, this album is well calculated and executed. But the overall atmosphere is unfortunately, weak.

Grab a quantam physics book and try reading it backwards while someone randomly slaps you repeatedly in the face with a piece of bacon, and while all this is happening try concentrating on that smooth jazz music playing in the background. This is sorta the atmosphere that this album conveys. Don’t get it? Neither do I. Its basically jazz: random riffs just magically coming together in the end. But is this jazz metal? Theres just one problem with this album that just makes it walk the fine line between jazz-metal and plain jazz.

It isn’t heavy at all. Yeah, the guitar work is superb and distorted, with a lot of powerchord usage, well executed by Mark A. Evans and Scott Young. But the problem is, it isn’t heavy. I understand that these two were first jazz musicians and I also understand that if they went for a heavier production that that would kill their clear distinctive sound of their guitar and bass. (The lifeforce for jazz) So they settled on this mediocre, pseudo-distorted production they have on this cd. To kill heaviness for distinction or to sacrifice clarity for heaviness, it must’ve been a hard choice. And I respect their choice that they chose in the end, as a musician I understand what they wanted, but that leaves a huge dilemma on the listeners part. The question is, is this metal? Is this classifiable as this so-called “jazz metal”. The vocal is obviously metal, and some of the songs contain some death metal drumming and riffage. But with the liberal use of clean vocals and smooth jazz like interludes and the weak distortion, many would have a hard time listening to this and saying “yeah, this is fucking metal up your ass!”

The drumwork is awesome with, Matt Racovalis breezing through, unifying the seemingly randomness of the guitars and the basswork is topnotch with excellent slap-bass riffage. But the production is weak. Yes, I know that heavy-distortion does not necessarily equal to heavy brutal music, but there is a limit. When theres almost no distortion going on in the guitar’s part, is it still “heavy metal”?

Some will proudly classify this as “jazz-metal”, others will say its just plain jazz with experimental attributes. But whatever the fuck this is, this album will leave you thinking and occasionally craving more. From the occasional catchy melodies and heavy-tremolo riffings and to even the acoustic jazz interludes, this music is perfect to work with or even drive to, maybe even relax to. Alarum, whatever the fuck they are, maybe even pioneers of this “smooth jazz metal” genre, will leave the listener thinking. All in all it’s a nice breathe of fresh air in this condensed world of metal.

RECOMMENDED SONGS: Inertial Grind, Velocity
THE GAY SONG: Sustained Connection
LYRICS: Quantam physics, Metaphysics, Philosophy
PRODUCTION: Clear, but muffled and weak guitar/ excellent bass and drumwork
PACKAGING: Something green with foldout lyric sheet
OVERALL: You’ll either like em or hate em, listen with an open mind, give em a chance

Worth the wait - 90%

EndlessTorment, January 17th, 2005

It’s been a long time since the previous Alarum album, so the title of this could be as much a reference to the near five years it’s taken to appear as it could mean nothing at all. "Eventuality…" is also an evolution, with tighter songwriting and more focused arrangements, although these are no less technical than previously. Alarum’s skill in combining the jazz-tinged elements of Cynic and Atheist with the complexities of Death is breathtaking, and the mostly acoustic interludes that appear throughout the album break up the heavier tracks quite impressively. The band has added further progressive elements to their overall sound here too. ‘Receiver’ has something of a calypso feel underpinning it and there’s a sitar-like guitar line that permeates through the impossibly technical ‘Woven Imbalance’ that is truly striking. Elsewhere, Alarum highlight their jazz influences in ‘Remote Viewing’ and ‘Event Duality’ while taking the opposite tack on the violent ‘Inertial Grind’ but at no point do they allow one side of their music to outshine any other. Mature and sophisticated, "Eventuality…" is an excellent release from an excellent band.

This review originally written for LOUD! Online