Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alternative 4 - "The Brink" (2011) [Avantgarde Recordings]

Musician Duncan Patterson has always been a favorite and a constant source of inspiration, having helped sculpt me into the musician that I am today. His work with Anathema, Ion, and Antimatter (especially the Planetary
 Confinement album) hold a special place in my heart. Any new efforts from the Patterson camp are bound to be something either absolutely incredible or at the very least a memorable, recurring listen.

When I heard that Patterson was starting up a new rock-oriented band, I wasn't sure how to react. With eight years passed since his last rock-related album, Antimatter's Lights Out, it was difficult to fathom just what to expect from this new band, whose name is derived from Patterson's final album with Anathema  before leaving to pursue other artistic horizons. What would a rock band sound like if the chief songwriter spent the greater part of a decade in folk and world music-based projects?

Well, at the risk of sounding corny and unimaginative, it would sound like Alternative 4. This international trio, hailing from Liverpool, La Plata, and Melbourne, is a melding of the creative minds who brought us not only Anathema, Antimatter, and Ion, but also Australia's brilliant gothic metal giants The Eternal. Cinematic both in scope and performance, Alternative 4's debut album The Brink brings together sweeping ambiance, contemplative, atmospheric rock, and a deep understanding of world folk and classical musics. Throughout The Brink reside thrilling, hair-raising bouts of Pink Floyd-ian progressive rock, velvety smooth strings, eerie, standalone piano, and the passion present throughout Duncan Patterson's discography. It is unmistakable that the brilliant mind that brought the world Alternative 4 and Eternity is the man behind The Brink, and it is evident in every element of this album.

If you are a fan of any of Duncan Patterson or Mark Kelson's previous or current work, or are moved by wonderfully beautiful and emotionally stirring music, then Alternative 4's The Brink is definitely for you. A progressive rock masterpiece created by some of the greatest musicians the genre has ever seen. I would tell you to expect great things from this gathering of massive minds, but that should be expected.


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