Aceldama - Aceldama (2012)


 Not to be confused with the album by metal band The Faceless, Aceldama are an up and coming outfit from Birmingham, in the ever-rainy UK.Following the success of their single, "Metal And Beer," the band have set out to play live shows whenever, and wherever, they are allowed to plug in. But capturing the flash and energy of a gig is often hard, and the transition from stage to studio isn't always a smooth one. On their new, self titled album, this female fronted five piece are reaching for the stars, but not quite making it work.

The energy that rises from the opening moments of "I Am" is certain to peak your interest in the tracks that follow. Frontwoman Leanne is a perfect fit for the style of music being played. With heavy distorted riffs and the constant rolling of bass, her voice is the rudder that steers the track down the right path.You won't find anything out of the ordinary in the instrumental itself, but the band holds their own. Rather than  stretching things out for a five minute or more epic, they keep it short and sweet, a victory in and of itself. A little more confusing than cohesive, "Chapter 2" lacks the same punch and continuity of its predecessor. The main vocal almost seems disjointed, in both flow and the mix itself. The downside to a song like this one is that it can take a promising beginning, and make it quickly look watered down and ineffective. Sans the ripping guitar solo the track is a throwaway, lacking anything that will make it stand out from the crowd.

Quick to try to redeem themselves, the band launch straight into "Faith In Me." The drumming becomes more intense, with crashing cymbals sitting atop a solid foundation of guitars and bass. Leanne, once again, seems more in her element. Her lyrics, on the other hand, never seem to find a groove, falling back on some rock and metal cliches to pad out a shaky vocal line. The lack of true content makes her stretch her talents to hold bigger notes, and find additional melodies. The outro portion is the perfect example, with her voice failing to match to power of her bandmates. The punch of the kick drum opens "What Has Gone Before," with some more intricate guitar work chiming in early. It seems like the instrumental portion of the track hits a great stride, delivering a product that is easy to digest and get behind. But, unfortunately, the vocal lags behind, as it did in the previous track, sounding overproduced and under performed. This takes a solid effort and makes it fall flat.

With an opening segment that certainly plays out as the heaviest moment on the album, "I Tried" sees the band explorer some serious metal action. Machine gun drums and blazing guitar work take over, with each screeching harmonic bringing to mind (though only faintly) the great Zakk Wylde." Leanne makes a comeback in many ways, holding her own amongst the bruising riffs and damaging rhythm section. This is, in addition to being the darkest track, the most well rounded one. As the pieces finally fall into place, things run directly into "Collision," for one final burst of energetic guitar rock. There is something odd in the vocal mix, something that may be difficult to put your finger on. But the vocals sound as though they aren't mixed with the music, but are rather sitting on top of the band, drowning out all of the little touches to the guitar work. Case in point, as the flows from verse to breakdown, the guitars become so much clearer, so much more powerful. As the vocals return, the weight is too much for the drums to hold, and the juicy riffs are sandwiched.

Some bands are meant to be heard live. With these six songs, Aceldama seems to be one of those bands. There is no denying that they have all the potential to pull off successful female fronted metal. The evidence is there. But as the sound emanates from your speakers, each track seems to be missing that special something that would warrant repeated listens. Whether that something lies in the writing, the performance, or the mix remains to be seen. I guess seeing the energy the band plays with live would be the only way to know for sure. Until then, this one might not be a desert island disc.

6.5/10

Official Site - http://www.aceldama.co.uk
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/aceldamabham