Align Album reviews.
Release Date: 04.24.01
Record label: iguana records
by: steven jacobetz
There was a time when hardcore heavy metal bands had more mainstream exposure. MTV had the show Headbanger's Ball after midnight on Saturday nights back in the late 80s-early 90s. It was a forum for a whole crop of bands with alarming names like Anthrax, Biohazard, Motorhead, and Suicidal Tendencies.
Those days died out though. Now, the hardcore scene is almost entirely underground. Bands like Align from Minneapolis have to build cult followings on a grassroots level through constant touring for five years. Finally, they were signed on an independent record label out of New York, Iguana Records. Some Breaking News is the band's first full-length album, and it is worth hearing.
If you can get past all the volume, distortion, dissonant chords, and the occasional really odd syncopated rhythm, Align has more melodic quality than most hardcore bands. It is easy to imagine that the band could have gone in a pop direction if it had chosen to.
Singer Jeremy Jessen has a very good voice when he's not screaming his head off, which he often does. Jessen has consciously avoided using profanity in his lyrics, opting for more expressive words in the English language. It's refreshing to hear someone take a more intelligent approach, rather than just spewing out "F___ you!" every other line.
Align's music has a much less sinister tone than a band like Tool, even though the two bands are similar-sounding instrumentally. The songs are about relationships and spirituality. Songs like "Bell Curve," "Basement Door," "Weigh Me Down," and "Carrying" stand out in my mind, although the whole album is solid.
The members of Align cite fellow hardcore bands like Helmet and Quicksand as influences. Like those bands, they aren't bound to get much attention from the mainstream because their sound is too abrasive. That's a shame, because there is plenty of musical quality here. A lot of the melodies are quite catchy.
If you like bands like Helmet and Tool, definitely go seek out this album. Even if you prefer something more radio-oriented, give it a listen a few times. The album gets better every time you hear it after you get orientated to the sound. You might be in for a pleasant surprise.