Videoclip of the Month!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bright Star Alliance - Oceania

The Bright Star Alliance - Oceania


Oceania is The Bright Star Alliance’s debut EP and it was released in 2007. This band is of the Screamo/Post-Hardcore genre and they are currently unsigned. This is their debut EP and this is a really good debut to make. Its bands like this that should be putting Australia on the map when it comes to the “Core” genres.

The Bright Star Alliance is a relatively unknown band from Melbourne Australia. Many new bands seem to be emerging from that particular area and The Bright Star Alliance has lead the pack. This debut EP will definitely give you a good idea of what their style is.  This debut EP features your standard issue emo style screams, clean vocals, breakdowns and melodic riffs. Yep it has everything you can expect from your average screamo band. Musically they sound like your ordinary screamo/post-hardcore bands. The guitars have that high pitched drone sounding distortion and the lead stands out and the rhythm get turned down a little. They play fair simple riffs, nothing too advance or complex. Also the drumming is fairly simple and no very fast. Although this is the case, they do sound very tight and in sync. Also they seem to have a Punk music feeling behind the music itself rather than a metal feeling if you take away the vocals on some tracks.

They have decided to play it safe with this first release and focus more on melody and emotion. Which I think are 2 very vital elements of screamo, screamo is made up of 2 words scream and emo. They have definitely succeeded with the emotional side of things. With relatively slow melodic riffs and clean vocals they do create some kind of atmosphere. They also have a different way of expressing their different moods and in turn creates different emotions throughout the EP, it doesn’t necessarily have to be sad emotions, they can range from upbeat through to angry emotions. The song structure that they use depends on the song and atmosphere they are trying to create some have just your ordinary hardcore structure and some combine hardcore and deathcore musically and structure. They make excellent use of Breakdowns in some tracks and they mix perfectly with the vocals. Their screams are very high pitched metalcore/ emo yells. The screaming vocalist sounds like he is completely emptying his lungs when he screams. For those who don’t know, an emo scream sounds like a guttural growl but instead of growling it’s a scream. They clean vocals aren’t half bad either, they are not over the top soul singing vocals but they do fit in with the melodic parts.  The drumming is very simple, simple beats and a nice steady double kick drumming.

Not all of the tracks try to be overly aggressive, but there are some. In these types of songs, you get the full feel of what this band is like. Intense deathcore style breakdowns, emo screams but they still keep their decent melodies which is a plus. Musically they are also fairly tight as well, they are all fairly well in sync but as I said they play it safe and keep it simple. They like to change moods between soft, medium and hard throughout the whole EP which keeps it nice and even also interesting. Also like many screamo/post-hardcore bands out there they like to use some special effects, not as much as Sky Eats Aeroplane or anything they mainly use them at the start of tracks. This also keeps the post-hardcore feel to it. They make a few transitions will have totally different moods. The choruses are always upbeat and the rest of the songs are usually neutral or downbeat.  

This EP is fairly well rounded and has a near perfect balance of adrenaline pumping and mid pace tracks. Certain tracks have one or the other and some have both. The opening track Human.BodyAnchor is one of the medium paced tracks. It has nice simple drumming and simple riffs. Also this track has an uplifting feeling to it and it is a fairly nice and calm track to start off with. The Next track The Bluest Danube is probably the slowest and most simple track on the whole EP and features or piano playing. Although those are nice and calm songs that lean more to Post-Hardcore and Punk, there are some that are some that lean towards the deathcore side. Once you hit that track Staring Into Reflections Return Nothing, this is where it starts to get real. The opening Breakdown is really good and the rest of the track stays at a nice steady pace. Also the melodies are fairly good in this track aswell and suit very well with the clean vocals. Melodies are another thing really keep their music alive, the track Swimming With the Serpent has some of the best melodies and is their signature song from them so far. It has a nice and upbeat feeling to it and is fairly relaxing. The last track in the EP is called I Am Destruction and it is the song that throws everything in a box and ties it into a nice little package. They change from upbeat to downbeat emotions and sounds combines Deathcore and Post-Hardcore the most. Also drumming in this track is a lot more quicker and the music is tighter. Not to mention they use growls also more as well.

Although this is one really good EP, there are a few things that keep it from being perfect. The first thing is that they might have played it too safe with their music. There are many times where the music sounds monotone and uninteresting. The drumming doesn’t do anything to help it as well, in fact is makes it sound even more boring than it already is. The drummer seems to be a little slow at the double bass as well, there are times that he tries to be fast but hasn’t worked but he can keep a good baseline.  Also there are some elements that don’t really mix together as well which makes it feel unbalanced. One example of this is that at times some of the members play some simple slow calm musicals while the vocalist is still screaming his lungs out. This makes it feel tangled and a little annoying.

 Also the clean vocalist’s single is very bland and unenthusiastic. Also his voice is drowned out at times and sounds a little monotone. Also the screamed vocals are a little annoying as well when he also sings in monotone and he rarely changes his tone. Also they and utilize the growls as well as they should have done which could have made the Ep as a whole a lot more interesting that the same boring vocals. Also the music starts and stops a lot on disrupts the flow of the music, also when people pause it is usually a signal that they are going to transition into another riff, chorus or a breakdown perhaps,  but they don’t even do that at times. They just continue like nothing has happened. Also they are not subtle either and they last for a while.  All of these have a major affect on how this EP flows and the feel you get from it. They have brought nothing really new to the table of post-hardcore/screamo and they don’t seem to be as ambitious as some other new bands out there. This really does affect them if they want to keep making music that people will still want to listen to 10 years from now. They do experiment, no doubt but they need to get their priorities set out first and I guess an EP is a great way to test them out. It is these problems though that lets this EP down the most unfortunately and they really do have a major affect.

Overall this is not a bad debut EP. This band is from Melbourne Australia and many bands of the same style are coming out from their so they have to work especially hard of they want to get noticed. Although their motives for their music are unclear, they do mix deathcore, post-hardcore and punk elements fairly well together. They are very tight and they work well together, they may sound very unskilled and boring at times but improvement comes with experience. There are a few things that many disappoint the audience at times such as; the vocals and the structure some of the songs together but this is still very good post-hardcore and definitely worth a look. There are quite a few moods to this Ep to keep it entertaining. For people who like Breakdowns and heaviness I recommend the track Staring Into Reflections Return Nothing. The track with the best melodies would have to be the track Swimming With the Serpent and for people who like speed and melody I recommend the track I Am Destruction. I Am Destruction is probably the standout track in the whole EP because it brings all of the elements together into one track. I recommend this EP to anyone who likes deathcore, metalcore and post-hardcore/screamo. Overall I think this is still a pretty good EP and worth a look, I give it a 15/20.


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