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Aisles - Hawaii album review

Aloha to an agile span of classic and modern prog.

cover art for Aisles Hawaii album

Music without borders has always been the prog way. Certainly Aisles never feel at all constrained. The Chileans have come up with something special on their fourth album, stretching out sounds in all directions. On your first listen to these 80 minutes, you’ll rightly pick up the influences of Camel, Rush, Barclay James Harvest and Van der Graaf Generator. These all coalesce beautifully on the epic The Poet Part I: Dusk and The Poet Part II: New World. But as you delve into Hawaii and its explorative, eclectic style, then more contemporary notations start coming through, from Dream Theater to Steven Wilson and Anathema.

There’s a clear‑sighted ability here to connect all these elements on tracks like Pale Blue Dot and Year Zero, but none of this would matter if all Aisles did was concoct a series of songs that merely rehash what these artists have previously done. The reality exceeds expectation though, with a distinct and joyous expression of individuality throughout that lifts this album into an elite position. Hawaii might be lengthy but the ideas that are contained within never feel thinly spread, making this one of the year’s highlights.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio, which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.