Review by Stefan: The musical history of Florida based metal band Alias can be divided into three chapters, from 1985 up to 1987 they started as Blitz, than the band name changed into Alias (1987-1990), they fell under the radar but appeared again as from 2011 with an original line-up, they’d been added to the bill of the majestic Rocklahoma festival those days. I noticed they Alias brought out a three songs demo in 1986, following to that year they were back with a first full length, self-titled 12” vinyl release, available on Grudge Records. Retrospect Records reissued the album on CD back in 2009 ! Len Jarrel became the new frontman because pre-Alias singer Greg Anderson (Blitz) called it quits. The line up of Alias’ debut output looked like Mark Severns (Guitar), Dirk Van Tilborg on bass and behind the drumkit we welcomed Phil Arnt.
The CD version I’m holding in my hands right now has been released through a new record label founded in 2016 by Alias’ bassist Dirk Van Tilborg (also head of A&R). Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sonic Night Music can be described as an artist-centric company delivering outstanding hard rock and heavy metal bands for you to have a real good time. Searching for both hidden gems and so called innovative type of bands, they have a few great ones on their roster so far but you’ll read about those other ones asap, be sure that they’ll discussed one by one through our webzine Metal To Infinity. Talking about hidden gems, I’d like to start writing my thoughts on Alias’s debut, a superb classic US heavy/power metal product to celebrate the band’s 30th. Anniversary, remastered and released via SNM earlier this year, 2017.
The original cover had to make place for another, more abstract image and looks good to me. I really like the sound quality to the dismay of those describing the production seems too thin. In my opinion this way production suits the original feel from multiple decades ago perfectly, not too polished and in regards to hidden treasure of US heavy metal, I absolutely have no reason to complain. Definable as a true US classic metal effort, the song writing is very strong !
The voice of Jen Jarrell reach a very high level, very clear/sometimes high pitched in the vein of a fallen god of metal called Bobby Hicks (ex-Mystic Force), also Paul Davidson (Heir Apparent ’83-’87 era), Steven Patrick (ex-Holy Soldier), Ted Pilot (ex-Fifth Angel) and the likes. Len’s a vocalist with a crystal clear vocal service still able to let shivers roll down my backbone. The guitar of Mark Severns are outstanding, we all know that with only one guitarist in charge, it’s evident to make a band’s sound complete but trust me on my word, you’ll not complain at all, nothing is missing with big thanks to mighty Mark’s technical tactics. His way of riffage is superb and about his soloing duties, I’m overwhelmed in the positive sense of the word, really. Melodic, highly skilled technical to the bone… to me as a fan of flammable guitar moves, a pleasure to listen at.
Dirt Van Tilborg’s way of bass tacklings are manufactured from a very high level, listening to an album it’s my intention to closely listen to each one of the band member’s style of acting. In regards to Mr. Van Tilborg’s activities, no reason to complain because it’s all about bass duties which are real good, top-notch actually ! Finally on drums we have a man called Phil Arnt who must have been stepped into the Alias fold with loads of skills, equal to the technical moves from his fellow band members. A dream team to me and hell no, I don’t care of you’re agree with me or not. Reviewing an album, the only way out is to let your heart speak and write it down, right?!
Alias’ debut album has 10 songs on board, fans of US classic heavy/power metal are about to have the time of their lives, all because of the good old character each one of the compositions has in promotion. I stick with my point of view, US metal still reigns supreme ! Check out for the outstanding catchy chorus lines and killer hooks…. listen to the opener ‘(You Can’t) Take My Youth’ or ‘Prisoner Of Dreams’ or and you’ll get the picture. Powerful compositions that’ll stick your inner soul for a long time after. Back then, they were young and restless so the lyrics are rebelliously tinted, as we all were back in the mid-80s, it was us against the world (and grunge music). ‘Take The Light’ can be considered as a semi-ballad but god damn, it’s a fantastic one with awesome vocals. The somewhat dark and quite sentimental feel during the running time of this song flow seamlessly together, along with the contribution of the beautiful guitar works, the level of cuddliness to reach a high level.
Time to go faster with the song called ‘Knight Of The Realm’ and its unchained character, guitar solo’s sharp as a razorblade, bass and drum lines in perfect harmony and next ‘The System’ brings me another great feeling, this album really drive me crazy! Fans of early Attacker (“Second Coming” period ) or Mystic Force (“Take Command” era) will be spoiled with ‘King Of The New Order’, high pitched vocals and great US metal music makes me feel real good again. Old Barren Cross, Fifth Angel, Glacier, Mass, Sacred Warrior… have to check out ‘Listen To The Rain’, I’m sure they’ll get their fix. ‘So You’re A Star’ gives me that same good old US metal feel again just like the finale, the song ‘Emerald Eyes’, a heavy metal monster you will embrace with open arms !
This self-titled effort from Americans Alias brought me nearly in seventh heaven, I really adore this old brand of US metal with all of my heart and can only be very satisfied that new label called Sonic Night Music reissued this masterpiece, actually a hidden pearl of shiny steel. Must have for real collectors of US classic heavy power metal in the vein of Liege Lord, Fifth Angel, Ravage, Icon, Mystic Force, Obsession, Q5, …. Defenders of this awesome gem surely know what I mean ! Purchase your own copy NOW ! Additional info on Sonic Night Music at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmJl2Ekr-wICnzkNcmNLK8w / https://www.facebook.com/SONICNIGHTMUSIC/ / https://twitter.com/SONICNIGHTMUSIC / https://soundcloud.com/sonicnightmusic
My rating: 92/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)