Alaya: Grace

Classy and catchy debut from exciting djent trio

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Chicago’s Alaya have all the requisite requirements to position themselves atop the djent pile, including blistering musicality, hydra-headed compositions, downtuned riffing and dizzying rhythms, made apparent on White Noise’s angular dissonance and Entropy’s percussive punches and meandering sweeps.

The trio also understand the importance of creating coherent, meaningful songs and engaging soundscapes that are as appealing to the casual listener as the aficionado.

From the riffs and hook-laden chorus of the atmospheric Inside to the crushing grooves and intricate rhythms of the title track, Grace is both instantly satisfying and opaque enough to deliver surprises with repeated listens. Frontman Evan Graham Dunn’s range may not be to everyone’s tastes but there’s no denying the effective vocal harmonies over the majestic three-part Haunted, which weaves the album together with delicate keys and ambience amidst the taut guitar playing.

Sublime proof that there’s far more to the djent scene than simply who can play the most complicated riff.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.