It’s interesting to pick a chunk of the country and examine what’s coming out of its respective music scenes. The Midwest’s emo has taken the forefront all over, and hardcore is tearing at the seams of the East Coast. But a scene that’s always fascinated me is the post-hardcore from the western half of our great nation. Bands like Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, and The Speed of Sound in Seawater seem to have a cleaner, more polished sound than our bands on the Eastern Seaboard with lyrics that at times seem a little less than personal and more rooted in mystery. The newest record to join those ranks is the nearly impeccable Allomaternal, the most recent release from Las Vegas’ Stolas.
Allomaternal is an incredible album. It hits hard without sacrificing beautiful sounds from all four members. Guitarists Sergio Medina and Jason Weiche weave their riffs effortlessly, while locked in with a rock solid rhythm section featuring RJ Reynolds on bass and Carlo Marquez on drums. These guys can shred, and they’re not afraid to show off on tracks like the title opener or “Counterpoise”. However, what’s even more impressive is their ability to take a step back and reserve their chops. The dynamics on every song are so perfectly organized; there’s no place anywhere on Allomaternal that seems lacking or over the top. The songs are a little long for my liking, but they’re not boring in the least. Stolas is a smart band, and this record is proof.
The vocal arrangements are expertly constructed. Marquez and Weiche have no trouble singing perfectly fitting melodies over the Sky Eats Airplane-esque chord progressions in each song. Harmonies are mostly subtle, but they certainly enhance every line, especially on songs like “Proving Grounds” or “Hiraeth”, two of my personal favorites. The screaming is wisely placed throughout the record and sounds authentic alongside the music. Jason Aalon Butler of letlive. is credited as the producer, which is an interesting thing to see in the liner notes, and he did a fantastic job.
Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Allomaternal. Stolas is a prime example of the fantastic music from the western United States, and I for one am hoping their adventurous musicianship is made contagious by this record.