I’ll go ahead and be honest with you: I am not the most devout of Alesana fans. In fact, I have not really paid close attention to their progress since On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, which was released a whole five years ago (that’s 2006, for all you mathematicians). So when I learned that they released a new single, I was not expecting too much; I did not really enjoy them then, so why would I like it now? But, as does everything in life, “A Gilded Masquerade” has its pros, and its cons- which are in a mixed array as follows.
In my opinion, the strings used in the intro are unnecessary and make the song sound a little messy. The acoustic guitar and vocals alone would have done the trick at getting the mood across. But on the other hand, the strings fit the mood of the song better than the screaming behind the vocals; vocals that were, in fact, singing a (sad) love song.
While we are on the topic of lyrics, let’s discuss them. They are not all together bad; the overall message is good and relatable. Dramatic and sad with attempts at imagery, the song hints at heartbreak and deceit, feelings that many people have experienced in one way or another. But the bridge is where things really get insightful: “hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.” To their benefit, though, these are group chants that are more for effect than to be the center of the sound at that point in the song. The true center is the guitar harmonies during a shredding solo that reminds me of work done in Escape the Fate, circa Ronnie Radke.
Alesana is very much a band that fits in perfectly with the era five years ago. Some bands are able to adjust and mold their unique sound to what the style happens to be; not meaning that bands completely change to stay in the spotlight, just to stay relevant. Nevertheless, try as they might, “A Gilded Masquerade” shows that the band is still somewhat stuck in the “screamo” days, as much as that word makes me cringe on the inside. The song does have catchy melodies and better vocals than in the past, and for all old Alesana fans, this will interest you; for those of you who are like me and have grown out of that phase, this song is good only for the inner scene kid.