ALIAS – METAL TO INFINITY (Sonic Night Music)

Review by Stefan: When I was a teenager I listened to the music of my older brother, they experienced the flower power movement those days. I was barely 7 years old but I already felt that listening to music inspired my inner soul, it gave me more strength and self-confidence. To keep a long story short, I started to listen at the 3-piece Woodstock Records and yeah, some of the bands I really liked… Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Jefferson Airplane, CCR, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Santana, Mountain and stuff. Besides the Woodstock album, my brothers introduced me also to Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, Steppenwolf, The Guess Who and that type of legendary bands. As years passed by some radio programs popped up, some I still remember like it was yesterday… among these I still remember very well shows like called “Stampij” and “Betonuur”, hosted by Hanneke on Dutch channels Hilversum 3. Each time the show was broadcasting, I was present like a loyal dog. They played Hard Rock mainly and I felt the rush deep down inside to follow the scene more and more.

I was hooked on Hard Rock from that moment, with the arrival of the heavy metal movement I knew that both hard Rock and metal music were my way of living and so I grew up. Started to collect as much as possible cassette tapes, vinyl records, going to loads of metal events and visited many cool metal bars in Belgium where I spent many hours hanging out with brothers and sisters in hard Rock and metal. Growing older, I wanted to do some extra as support to the scene and started my online webzine called Metal To Infinity. Didn’t knew anything about setting up websites but I tried and tried and in the beginning it looks like shit but step by step, I learned some more about those things and since 1993 until know we’re still running, Metal To Infinity Looks still very simple but that’s the way I like.

I prefer a classic/simple lay-out above something flashy or modern looking, yeah I’m old school and proud of it… check us out officially  at: www.metaltoinfinity.be and you’ll know what I mean. Along with some longtime friends Rico and Patrick we went on and on and reviewed most every single album we received to review so far. But where did the name of the webzine came from? Well I’m an everlasting fan of US Metal music and back then in the 90s there was a band called Alias and their second effort called Metal To Infinity, adored the title and it fits my vision regarding the music style so that’s about the story behind the name of our website ! Quite an intro but see it as some kind as a briefing history… let’s go on with Alias’ second recording entitled “Metal To Infinity”.

Back in 1989, Flame Records brought out the first vinyl version of Alias’ second output “MTI”, including nine songs. Luxemburg based Rock The Nation came on with the CD edition back in 1994, incl. the original LP tracks plus two goodies, live recordings from older recordings entitled ‘Prisoner Of Dreams’ and ‘Emerald Eyes’. During my review regarding Alias’ self-titled piece, I told you about their original bassist Dirk Van Tilborg’s new label called Sonic Night Music (est. 2016) with on its roster a few good artists so far, hopefully much more to come as time goes by. Darn good record company, interesting bands, at first I wrote down my thoughts on Alias’ first cut as can be read Here . Now the time has come to spread the word of the second Alias album that saw daylight with a total different, good abstract looking cover artwork, killer booklet/inlay… a re-issue of a superb US Power Metal output, a classic to me !

Previous singer Len Jarrell left the ranks and was replaced by Carl Hayden, let me tell you right away that the vocals on “Metal To Infinity” are even better than on the pervious album. Len was also a real good US metal type vocalist in my opinion so the reason why he called it quits must have been nothing to do with the way he brought vocals to the table, other interests perhaps? I don’t know for real but his replacer has a voice to impress even more like Jen did, another outstanding frontman stepped in the core, the rest of the lineup remained untouched.

The production is in good shape and the first song ‘Ultraviolence’ takes me by the throat once the guitars starts to roar, drums come in, bass tones in perfect health but OMG, the singing performance make me wildly enthusiast, high pitched the way I like ! ‘Stormy Eyes’ brings me in a real good mood as this one reminds me of Heir Apparent, Crimson Glory, even some Lethal/Fifth Angel influences come knocking on my front door… pretty dark but beautiful from start to finish ! The longest song of this album ‘Dreamer’ is a standout In my opinion… dark minded, slightly progressive and for 70 percent of the entire running time, the vocals and the pace run low but with two minutes left to go, the pace transforms to a higher level and I nearly got cardiac arrest. In a few seconds, this song turns into something beautiful the way I was waiting for honestly. The last part is all about US power Metal as it should be… all of the members in a starring role, almighty good performance!!

‘Alpha Omega’ and the title track immediately takes me in tow with its pure character of an all-in brand of US power metal, just like the following two tracks does actually. Maybe you got the intention I’m repeating myself but that’s the way I feel while listening to outstanding American based power metal music. The first one minute, 45 seconds of ‘Fantasy’ takes me back into the best days of life, the era where Queensryche ruled with ‘Take Hold On The Flame’, Lethal pleased us with ‘Another Day’ and Crimson Glory brought us full satisfaction with ‘Lady Of Winter’. You know that type of songs where the pace is rather low but the musical sensitivity reach a very high level.

Finally Alias knocks me out of control with my absolute favourite songs called ‘The Mirror’ where the vocals punches me deep within my heart and soul, the high pitched shrieks cut through flesh and bone… predominantly the singing lines to reach an unconscionable level in my opinion. Food for die-hard US power metal maniacs mainly, and all these words of praise regarding the vocals can be said about the other members as well, really!

I regret that such brilliant bands never got the opportunity to break through for real, not breaking through meant to be the reason for most of them ending their musical activities back in the day. A shame, a disgrace but US metal will never leave my any vein In my whole damn body, thanks to re-issues like this we can hold on the flame of USPM burn hot. To those claim that our favourite gem will die a lonely death, watch your step and mind your own god damn business, read this instead… US Metal Still Reigns Supreme ! I will ad this brilliant second Alias album to my CD collection with pride, I have created a department where only high quality products are classified so that’s the place both Alias efforts will take place !!

My rating: 96/100 (Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !)

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