Alphoenix - Evil Ways

Alphoenix are a melodic death metalcore band hailing from Tokyo, Japan, and “Evil Ways” is their second full length album. Taking a sound that mixes the likes of Disarmonia Mundi and Trivium, this album feels a bit like a throwback to the early 2000s when melodeath groups that used the clean/ harsh vocal trade off and metalcore was starting to get its rise. It is heavy and melodic and rooted pretty much in the same vein as the previous effort from these guys. Tracks like ‘Return Of The Savior’ hit hard in the Disarmonia Mundi/ Soilwork vein with the aggressive riffs, melodic solos, and roared vocals with little room for melody. Then there are the more ‘radio friendly’ tracks like ‘Silver Living’ which include more clean vocal work, simple yet engaging song structures, and a bit more the Trivium vibe. The good news is that Alphoenix have a pretty good balance of the aggressive and melodic here, without one style dominating the other.

‘Dream Eater’ is a good example of what a lot of Alphoenix is about. Like a lot of modern melo death bands, the group uses the harsh verse/ clean chorus style, and include plenty of melodic riffs and pounding drums. Vocally, the band does sound like a mix of Trivium meets Killswitch Engage on the cleans, while the harsh ones are more Soilwork or Drops of Heart inspired. While this style is nothing new to the average melo death/ metalcore fan, it will certainly grab a lot of listeners for the similar sound. Other tracks like ‘Aegis’ are more straightforward melo death with the harsh vocals all the way and a faster pace; certainly a pit starter and little room for error. ‘BlaQ Road’ is a bit more of a metalcore piece with the slow to mid paced chug with a change in the vocals to aim for more of a crooning clean, but at the same time it sounds like he’s trying too hard to go for melody. Still, the guitars do a good job at keeping things engaging with the Trivium styled song structure.

While the bass is a bit lost in almost every track, one can at least follow its rumblings during some of the chug riff tracks like ‘Diamon Dust.’ The solos are sweeping and while it is not the most impressive track on the album, it still hits hard. The drums stay pretty constant throughout each track, but the big focus looks to be the vocals and guitars which steal the show. ‘Refusion’ is probably one of the few tracks that let the bass and drums shine for a bit before the guitars and vocals come in. Here, Alphoenix takes the best of their melo death elements and blends them together for a heavy to mid paced closer that sheds the radio friendly clean tropes and just gives listeners a solid melodic death metal chugger complete with layered solos galore. A bit more older Dark Tranquillity styled mixed with In Flames, it shows that Alphoenix knows their forefathers and know how to pay tribute to the greats.

Overall, “Evil Ways” continues to keep the band in a solid direction with a mix of melodic and heavy. Fans of the early 2000s to 2005 metal will find this album quite a listen as it brings back memories of how powerful vocal hooks and solid riffs can really make an album.

4 / 5 STARS

1. The Great Divide
2. Return Of The Savior
3. Dream Eater
4. Hell’s Lord
5. Aegis
6. BlaQ Road
7. Eye Of The Phoenix
8. Diamond Dust
9. Woven Wind
10. Silver Lining
11. The Evil Way
12. Refusion