Alaska MMX (Fist In the Air Records)
My man Duggan’s been banging on about this band for a while and urging me to check them out. I’ve ignored him up until now because I caught the arse end of this bands set in Margate a year or so back and they seemed like gobby noobs and i couldn’t be doing with’em. Anyhow, FITA Records have seen fit to send me their new record so i figured i’d give it a fair crack of the whip. Alaska gets some props if only by virtue of the fact that they are doing something positive in Margate, and being intimately aquainted with the gnawing misery of that place, I can appreciate how hard it is to try and do your own thing there be it music/art/ skateboarding/ whatever whilst being surrounded by closed minded, bigoted pieces of human garbage.
Musically Alaska remind me of modern heavy hardcore bands like The Hope Conspiracy, Rise & Fall or Kentish local boys Santa Karla. The song Black Lake comes in hard and fast with the stripped down hardcore feel of early Terror, tense and dissonant build ups then weigh in with monstrous doomed out riffs. The vocalist has a strained and throaty voice which compliments the tone of the music perfectly, and he doesn’t sound like he’s trieing to be a hard man or anything which is good. The lyrics are dark and erudite if a little unimaginative, but these guys are starting out so I can overlook that.
Santa Karla’s throat Duggan lends his molten vocals to the brooding Initiation which starts out with a morbid chug intro that sounds like a cut from The Break In’s good record, the back up chant at the beginning could have come out cheesy as hell but its low in the mix and it works really well. The songs are all well written and there’s no clunky parts, the transitions flow really well. Nice production from Jason Frye that emphasises the weight of the songs without relying on a metal polish. Alaska are a band that, to me, sound like Canterbury Hardcore circa 2004. A solid first release for both band and label.