Saturday, March 19

Alexis - Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey


Alexis is a Chilean heavy/allegedly power metal act that I'd certainly never heard of before. The band seems to be centered around frontman Freddy Alexis, who is involved in a number of groups in and around the nation's capitol. His solo release here is a fairly comprehensible piece of metal work: it's not flashy or original, but fills a large and much-demanded niche.

Generally, Freddy is a decent vocalist, but no more. There are some quality melodies on this album that I almost feel are wasted in the sheer simplicity of the band's material. An example here is “Golden Path”, with a melody that is memorable, unusual, and has the potential to have a melancholic or haunting quality. In context however, it just makes for a decent but unremarkable song. One thing that Alexis certainly shouldn't do is try and sing in the high register. The screeching in “Metalizer II” is fairly bad, and shut me down as fast as the slick intro got my attention. Saddest part is, this song even has a good chorus (or rather, it would have, had Freddy decided to drop an octave).

I've established to my dismay that Birds of Prey has a tendency to lure me in without delivering the goods. Songs like “Breaking the Spell” have a great lead line that got my attention straight off the bat. Then, when they had me, the band stopped what they'd been doing to try and get me to listen to what is the rather mediocre meat of their work, and I won't hold with it. Upon subsequent listens of the album, I fail to even get into these same hooky parts, and that's a bad sign.

The guitars on this album confuse me. It seems that they are attempting to bore me out of my skull by playing the most basic and unimpressive rhythm lines ever, while simultaneously boasting a brief lead part that is really quite neat. The only place that this seems to really work all right for the band is on the title track. The motivic material in the lead is a bit foreign to my ears, but the rhythm lines are deep and sludgy. Compared to most of the rest of the album, this track is definitely out of place, and it almost caters to an entirely different crowd. I thought of Brainstorm about halfway through the tune, and I think that's the best comparison that I can draw. Make no mistake though, this isn't as proficient, especially in the vocal department (as much as some people will whine about Andy Franck).

Generally, Birds of Prey suffers from being relatively uninteresting, with a few minor exceptions. Fans of more generic heavy metal will most likely find this enjoyable, but for those of us with the ear for speed, more distinguished melodies, or a more progressive tinge, this is just another drop in the bucket.

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The Protagonist's Rating: 5.5 out of 10

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