UK band SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI was formed back in 2001, at the onset a duo consisting of Nick Hannon and Marlon King. They appeared as recording artists in 2007, and while active as recording artists after this as well, this has mainly been in various forms of collaborations and side projects. “Continuum” is the band’s second full length studio production, and was released through Herman label H42 Records in the spring of 2018.
I see the self-description of this band citing them as something of an avantgarde and post-metal oriented band. Those with a taste for artists of that particular nature may well find that Sons of Alpha Centuari, at least as they appear in 2018, are a few tracks away from such territories, and then the avantgarde aspect of it in particular. There’s not much I’d describe as being post metal here either when it comes to that. Instrumental progressive rock is probably where I’d categorize this band and this specific album myself.
In the main compositions here the band tends to alternate between two distinct modes of delivery. One features relatively gently wandering and often plucked guitar details as the key element, and the other is dominated by darker toned riffs, at times with a gnarly, almost primitive sound at that. In both cases relatively delicate, floating keyboards will be used as overlays, and then more often than not with a cold, subtly cosmic tinge to it.
In between those contrasts we do get quite a few variations and deviations of course, with tasteful guitar solo runs as well as more effects laden guitar details as well as a bass guitar that gets some booming, beefy limelight here and there as well. The songs tend to ebb and flow nicely in intensity, either building up to a more intense finale or going full circle and concluding on a similar note as the opening part of the track. By plan or accident there’s a case to be made here on the hypnotic effects of repetition too, and one might also argue that a couple of the cuts here have a stoner rock and a post-punk vibe to them respectively.
There’s also a few atmospheric laden cuts to be enjoyed here, although for my sake they are by and large not as interesting as individual creations, functioning primarily as parts of an album experience as far as I’m concerned. The one exception is the opening cut ‘Into the Abyss’, but that may well be due to this one reminding me ever so slightly of late 70’s Eloy, which for me is a good thing.
While I do find this album to be a well made production throughout, my main impression is that this will also be an album with something of a niche appeal. A tad too primitive sounding at times to make a broad headway into the progressive rock oriented crowd, and arguably a tad too sophisticated to gather a strong appeal among those with a primary taste for instrumental hard rock that is borderline metal at times. Still, those with a taste for instrumental progressive rock that exist within those parameters should find this album to be a compelling experience. A good album, but with something of a limited reach in my opinion at least.
My rating: 7/10
1. Into The Abyss
3. Solar Storm
5. Surfacing for Air
7. Orbiting Jupiter
8. Return Voyage