REVIEW: Stolas – ‘Allomaternal’

Band: Stolas
Album: Allomaternal
Genre: Progressive, Post-Hardcore
Label: Blue Swan Records

Stolas have returned, with their second album Allomaternal, the followup to their 2011 Blue Swan Records debut, Living Creatures. After an unfortunate delay, Allomaternal has finally arrived, making its way into the hands of eager fans over the past week.

One of the most distinguishing factors about Allomaternal is the improved vocals of frontman Jason Weiche, who contributes much more powerful harshes, and polished cleans that blend well with the supporting vocals of drummer Carlo Marquez. Speaking of whom; we also see a lot more from Marquez this time around, as he lends a distinguished high clean at key points throughout the record. His added presence is a welcomed addition, providing some of the most satisfying high-points on the record.

Fans of Stolas’ previous album, Living Creatures, will instantly notice the vocal upgrade within the group, but also the lack of guests- which the band mentioned they were quite pleased about in our interview. Instead of support from Dance Gavin Dance vocalists of past and future, the guys were instead seen receiving some vocal coaching from Jason Butler of letlive.

On top of making a record that is entirely their own, Stolas had the chance to record Allomaternal with legendary producer Kris Crummett, who has helped the guys bring Allomaternal to its highest potential, with a very crisp and pleasing mix; yet another point of improvement from their debut.

Allomaternal‘s greatest moments are found in the trading vocals of Marquez and Weiche, something we saw far less of in the past. Showcasing this chemistry best are the album’s debut single, “Solunar,” and final track, “Allokinetic.” Both of these songs flawlessly combine intense and infectious choruses with just the right amount of Mars Volta breakdowns; transitioning from wildly violent, to eerie and soft, all before crescendoing into a rebuilt chorus or outro. For more examples of Stolas’ impressive dynamics listen to “Proving Grounds” or “Hiraeth.”

One of the main drawbacks on Allomaternal are the lengthy track times; with most songs coming in at about 5 minutes in length. Certainly the length allows for complexity within tracks, but it also makes slower moments feel a little longer than perhaps necessary. Take for example the minute-long outro on “Counterpoise,” which flows right into 5 lulling minutes of “Somatic.” Still, when I think about the slower moments on Living Creatures and how they played out the last time I saw Stolas, I get pretty geeked at the thought of seeing these guys play most of the cuts off of Allomaternal in a live setting.

Honestly, the drawn-out sections are part of what makes Stolas who they are, even if they don’t always work for a casual listen. They come with the territory of complex conceptual albums, of which Allomaternal has attempted to plant itself firmly. It’s a record you need to enjoy in a dark room, or otherwise give your full attention to at least once in order to appreciate fully.

Allomaternal is a solid album that fans of the previous release are bound to enjoy thoroughly. It’s dynamic, and it grips you right away as it pulls you through a turbulent sea of impressive instrumentalism and raw emotion. If you’re new to Stolas, definitely listen to the debut single below.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by Scott Murray

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.