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Album Reviews : Alarum – Natural Causes

By on November 24, 2011

While nowhere near G ’n R proportions, it is safe to say that Alarum’s third full length Natural Causes is very much a long-awaited one in Australian and even worldwide metal circles. Hailed by many a cynical atheist, Alarum’s debut Fluid Motion and subsequent Eventuality (read review) won admirers for its modern fusion take on Thrash and Jazz, delivered with proficient talent and inspiration. So where have the band been for the past seven years? That’s where Natural Causes shifts skies like nothing.

The succinct album opens with the title track, laden with seemingly effortless jazz-laden leads and vocal effects that intensify vocalist Mark Palfreyman’s distinctive voice and Alarum’s overall distinctive sound. For New Creation showcases progressive melodic ambition, with a catchy as hell hook, and shredding pace lending the track to be one of the highlights of the album.

Evspañol mixes things up with a kind of flamenco inspired, albeit irrelevant, interlude, before Silent Betrayal – my favourite on the album – kicks things back into gear with thrashy pace, and a head banging groove to close the song that will give you Slayerneck for at least a week and a half.

Older fans of the band can immerse themselves into another instalment of Boundless Intent, which continues the narrative that begun during Eventuality. Further from this, listeners of all persuasions will take heightened interest more so in the track Sensory Endeavour, that while wholly instrumental, displays technical proficiency and noteworthy drumming that really stands out on the back-half of the album.

Alarum is definitely a band that you’ll acquire a love or hate relationship with. As a good friend commented on as an at the time unspecified band was being played on JJJ’s The Racket – “What is this off-signature rubbish being forced into my ears?” – A opinion which was very much contrary to my unadulterated love of the bands music. The question of course, will you enjoy this album? Only by getting your truculent hands on it will you find out.

Band: Alarum
: Natural Causes
: 2011
: Jazz Fusion
: Quadrum Records
: Melbourne, Australia

Track listing:
1. Natural Causes
2. Shifting Skies Like Nothing
3. For New Creation
4. The Signal
5. Evspañol
6. Non-Linear Parallels
7. Silent Betrayal (Reviewers Choice)
8. Interface
9. Boundless Intent Part 3
10. Sensory Endeavour (Reviewers Choice)
11. Transpiration
12. Undivided