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Alarum is a four piece technical fusion-metal band from Melbourne, Australia. They combine influences of death metal, progressive metal, jazz, and thrash. They are stylistically quite similar to early-90's pioneers Atheist and Cynic. They are also known to play Death covers in live shows -- another band which influences them greatly. Alarum are currently working on their third album, Natural Causes set for release in early 2010. Guitarist Scott Young and drummer Matthew Racovalis left the band in 2007 with the latter replaced by Rob Brens. The band now writes as a trio, with Ryan Williams handling 2nd guitars at live shows.
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ALARUM Fluid Motion album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Fluid Motion
Progressive Metal 1999
ALARUM Eventuality... album cover 3.83 | 5 ratings
Progressive Metal 2004
ALARUM Natural Causes album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Natural Causes
Progressive Metal 2011

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ALARUM Reviews

ALARUM Eventuality...

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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"Eventuality..." is the 2nd full-length studio album by Australian technical/progressive thrash metal act Alarum. The album was released through Willowtip Records in September 2004. However there also exists a version of the album released through Earache Records with a different cover artwork.

Stylistically the music on "Eventuality..." pretty much continues the technical thrash metal style off Alarum´s debut full-length studio album "Fluid Motion (1999)", but adds a lot of progressive ideas and jazzy elements to that sound. The band have actually developed their style quite a bit even though their core style remains the same. They´ve also improved a lot as musicians since the debut album and there are generally some very impressive playing featured on "Eventuality...". Semi-jazzy guitar solos, fusion influenced drumming, and a busy fusion influenced bassist are some of the instrumental elements on the album. On top of that Mark Palfreyman delivers a relatively convincing vocals delivery with both raw and clean vocal parts. The latter vocal style sometimes reminds me of the vocal style and melodies of Helmet.

The sound production is relatively well sounding, but it´s got a synthetic sound to it that is probably an aquired taste. It´s also a bit unconventional as it features a sort of laid back sound, which is not something you´ll regularly hear on albums in this style. It´s obvious the band favour atmosphere over power. It´s not a powerless sounding album by any means though, it´s just quite different sounding.

Upon conclusion "Eventuality..." is a major step up from "Fluid Motion (1999)", which was an album that showed promise, but overall wasn´t really that great. "Eventuality..." is a much stronger release and even though there are some pretty clear references in the music to artists like Pestilence and Sadist, the album actually comes off as quite innovative and it´s a recommended listen to fans of technical progressive thrash/death metal. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

ALARUM Natural Causes

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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"Natural Causes" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Australian progressive metal act Alarum. The album was released through Willowtip Records in October 2011. It´s the band´s first album since "Eventuality... (2004)", so "Natural Causes" has been a long time coming. I guess all good come to those who wait, because "Natural Causes" has certainly been worth the long wait.

The band pretty much continue the progressive death/thrash metal style they played on "Eventuality... (2004)", but it´s obvious that they have grown as songwriters in the intermediate years. The music is influenced by acts like Cynic and Pestilence ("Spheres (1993)" era). Excellent fusion tinged drumming, jazzy sections, a very busy and audible bass and riffs played with great technical skill. The vocals are not growling, instead frontman/bassist Mark Palfreyman sings in a harsh type thrashy singing style. He also sings clean vocals which remind me slightly of the flat and toneless vocals of Page Hamilton from Helmet. His vocal style took a bit of warming up to for me, but repeated listens have revealed that they suit the rest of the music well. The clean vocals provide the music with an alternative vibe, but it´s not the most dominant feature on the album.

The sound production is detailed and suits the music well. I could have wished for a bit more power and maybe a bit more "open" sound, but it´s not a big issue and I´m pretty sure this is exactly how the band want the album to sound, because "Eventuality... (2004)" had a somewhat similar sound. The sound has the effect on the music, that even the most harsh parts sound pleasant and almost calm. I guess sophisticated isn´t the worst term to use in this case.

"Natural Causes" has taken me a while to get into and I´d call it a grower. For me it´s been about accepting that the sound production isn´t based on power and aggression but rather on sophistication and detail, but once I´ve gotten past my initial not so positive reaction, "Natural Causes" has become quite an exciting listen. Alarum are certainly an act who have now found their own sound but haven´t stopped progressing in the proccess and I think that admirable. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

ALARUM Fluid Motion

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Fluid Motion' - Alarum (6/10)

As is the case for many progressive death metal acts, Alarum began by playing a more straightforward brand of metal. With the debut 'Fluid Motion', this Australian jazz metal band performs a striking mix of thrash energy and death heaviness. The degree of complexity that would come with later work is not yet here, but as it stands, 'Fluid Motion' is a competent thrash-death crossover record.

Alarum sound readily influenced by the pioneers Death, in the sense that Death made their first strides by combining death metal and thrash together. For anyone mildly familiar with either genre, it's granted that 'Fluid Motion' will not appeal to many outside the metal community. This is largely due to the style, but also due to the impression that nothing in 'Fluid Motion' particularly stands out. Save for a slight flirtation with progressive jazz elements, Alarum's debut passes me as being competent, but little more, at least at this stage. Instrumentally, Alarum typically switches between straightforward thrash rhythms and contrasts it with more technically admirable passages, sometimes reminiscent of death metal, and other times sounding like they could be paying tribute to prog-era Voivod. The song 'Could This Be Real?' provides a bit of a refreshment, giving the listener a jazzy angle. There is a good variety in the vocals as well, with clean singing, Schuldiner-esque growls, and a marriage between the two, at times. Where 'Fluid Motion' begins to buckle is that none of these numerous elements ever excel. The clean vocals seem to run flat, the growls lack distinction, and as technically skilled as the musicianship is, there's nothing here that blows the competition out of the water.

In short, 'Fluid Motion' is a fairly ambitious, and ultimately decent output from a band who would go on to become one of the leading forces of jazz metal. It lacks the flow and tact of an excellent album, but there's nothing bad about this one at all.

ALARUM Fluid Motion

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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"Fluid Motion" is the debut full-length studio album by Australian technical death/ thrash metal act Alarum. The album was released through Metal Warriors in 1999.

The music on the album is technical and thrashy death metal with a progressive edge. The music features both raw and clean vocals. The raw vocals by lead vocalist Mark Palfreyman remind me of Robert Flynn´s vocals (Machine Head). The clean vocal parts sound very much like Page Hamilton´s (Helmet) vocal style to my ears. There are references to technical/progressive artists like Atheist, Cynic, Sadist and Pestilence but there are also more "regular" thrash metal influences in the music. The music is generally pretty intricate and technical without ever being technical for the sake of it.

The musicians are very solid but the sound production leaves a bit to be desired. It´s decent but lacks a bit of power. And that just about covers my overall opinion of the album too. It´s a decent technical/progressive death/thrash metal release, which is a relatively enjoyable listening experience but seldom reaches excellence. A 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

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