Although it is fun to look back at the best and worst music of the previous year, it is essential to look forward to the new releases coming up. I am waiting patiently for Part III of the Anabel Trilogy by post-hardcore rockers, Alesana. Well, maybe ‘patiently’ is a stretch. I check the Revival Recordings website weekly for news on a release date. I scour interviews and music magazines for any hint of what will be on the album. I even read The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle, which is the basis for the album, to see if I could discern the ending of a story that has captivated me from the beginning.
The Emptiness, released January 26, 2010, describes a horrific scenario of murder and mayhem. Based on Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Annabel Lee, the story plot twists and turns as each character presents their own view. Told in stunning clean vocals by Shawn Milke that contrast with powerful unclean vocals by Dennis Lee, the story becomes a musical book, as it transitions seamlessly through each chapter. Elements from theater, literature, and original storylines paired with signature Alesana music had me hooked. I simply had to know what happened next.
A Place Where The Sun Is Silent, released October 18, 2011, continued the plight of The Artist, sending him through extreme trials and tribulations, making me wonder if the first part was only imagined. Did a downward spiral in his consciousness make him dream the death of his beloved Anabel? Based on Dante’s Inferno, he faced one challenge and survived, but subsequent challenges appeared, threatening to end The Artist once and for all. The music is powerful, emotional, leading the listener through each song, as The Artist struggles to stay alive. The most exciting part of this album is that the end was only the beginning. And it would take the third part to reconcile the first two installments. Or would it?
This year I will finally know the true story. An advance single, “Fatima Rasulka”, was released on December 24, 2013, that showed an alter-ego of Anabel and quickly became a fan favorite. There are unlimited ways for the story to end. Since time travel is involved, all sorts of plot twists are possible. Is The Artist descending into madness or merely stuck in a time warp? I have personally imagined over forty separate conclusions to the story. The Anabel Trilogy may be billed as a series of concept albums, but it has sparked my imagination and love of literature for the last four years. And that is precisely why this is the album I am most anticipating, because it inspires me to think.