AISLES is a melodic Progressive Rock band from Chile, the first one that we have reviewed on justincaseradio. With their ‘4:45 AM’ album, they have convinced me that they are a force to be reckoned with in the progressive world.
According to the band, 4:45 in the morning is the most intense moment of the day, at which all important questions about life, love and death are asked. The lyrics throughout the album, written by the Vergara brothers, expand on this original concept.
The album starts off with the title track and some excellent RUSH – like melodies. As the songs move on though, we realise the wealth in influences and styles this talented band manages to show. For a start, Aisles manage to effortlessly move into different genres, even in the same song. And the amazing thing is that they excel at whatever they attempt.
For example, with its 80s synths and commercial feel, ‘Shallow and Daft’ is the closest to Neo Prog that the band will get. The band redeems itself with the beautiful vocal melodies at the end of the song. Let me mention here that the band is much too talented and open-minded to be characterised as Neo Prog; they themselves have denounced the term.
The milder moments often showcase beautiful acoustic guitar, a pleasure to hear, bringing Brazilian band Angra in mind. Of course, changes in rhythm and percussion always make these parts stand out.
‘Intermission’ is a lesson in ambience, probably the band’s favourite track here. It starts off with an almost trancey rhythm and morphs into a psychedelic trip.
The difference between this album and its two predecessors is the number of shorter tracks on ‘4:45 AM’. That gives the band the chance to showcase most of its skills. Towards the end though, we have two longer tracks:
‘Hero’ starts with some trippy acoustic guitar, then it develops into a funky jam, with some well placed traditional hand drumming, probably the highlight of the album. A beautiful ambient part follows, leading to the conclusion of this instrumental track.
Finally, ‘Melancholia’ is a stunningly beautiful 10 minute song, in the tradition of epic album enders by bands like PAIN OF SALVATION, up to par with the compositions on the ‘Parallels’ album of FATES WARNING.
These guys are first and foremost passionate musicians and then progsters. As a result, there is feeling, musical skill and purpose in every second of this album. For instance, the guitars of the album are more focused on presenting the right atmosphere than going into mindless and endless soloing. The rhythm section is worth mentioning: they manage to fit in many rhythm changes, adding to the complexity of the music but at the same time not obstructing its appeal. There are beautiful keyboards, adding atmosphere and depth to every composition. Last but not least, singer Sebastian Vergara delivers a warm and passionate performance, which helps to approach the concept subject, and the backing vocals are well placed.
Aisles must be a pleasure to see live. I am really looking forward to catching one of their concerts in Europe towards the end of 2014. But until then, I totally recommend listening to ‘4:45 AM’, if you are a fan of great melodic prog!