By Alberta Cross
In this, their debut album, Alberta Cross have held nothing back; not ashamed to plough straight in with full and heavy bulldozer guitars that compete for dominance over one another, creating complex and thick layers of sound. What will win Alberta Cross many fans is their ability to tame their big-riff, classic-rock sound enough to showcase their evidently great song writing ability.
Big statements are not avoided here either and chanting festival hooks such as "I just want to live, is that a crime?" feature highly, and are welcomed in with open arms by the listener, who at first may have been slightly anxious that lead vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee was trying to sound a little too much like Caleb Followhill with a head cold. However, this concern is soon abolished, especially once the album really hits home with the title track, 'Broken Side of Time,' which is definitely where the alteration between soulful soft and swooning melodies mixes most successfully with sheer all-hell-breaks-loose power chords. And it is this point, this ability to combine that lighters-in-the-air swaying feel with intermittent thrashing mosh-pit-madness, which makes me realise the ambition of this band. These guys have some tracks worthy of the label 'stadium rock:' big, hearty, unifying anthems of frustration and excess.
What proves difficult for Alberta Cross is the ability to sustain such unbridled energy throughout the record. 'Rise From The Shadows,' clocking in at over six minutes seems slow and self-indulgent following the euphoria of 'Broken Side of Time,' and you get the sense that you could have skipped the first four minutes without missing out on anything devastatingly profound. Some tracks aim for 'deep and epic' but fall short and land rather more towards the 'oh, get on with it' end of the spectrum.
But there is real promise here. Alberta Cross have proven that they've got the ability and ambition to think big and aim high. The penultimate track, 'Leave Us And 'Forgive Us,' perhaps sums up the best approach to the record. Alberta Cross, we shall forgive you for your shortcomings and shall be led into temptation by your flashes of guitar-hammering greatness. Amen.