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  ALBERTA CROSS
'Songs Of Patience'


Phil Kane

phil kane



Alberta Cross Songs Of Patience

Fancy something a little different? Perhaps you're a bit metalled out but the likes of Yes and the Mumfords are a bit too far the other way, yes? Or maybe you are looking for something with a bit of a southern thing going on to satisfy your cravings. Well, here's a little outfit that just might prove the perfect solution to your needs.

Alberta Cross is an Anglo/Swedish duo, Peter Ericson Stakee and Terry Wolfers, who now dwell in the USA. Over the last two or three years they have been creating quite a stir with their brand of southern tinged melancholia.

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The band's debut, 'The Broken Side Of Time', has quite a strident, heavy groove. On the other hand 'Songs Of Patience', their second full album, is a lighter affair, not quite picking up where the other left off.

Their sound is a folk rock hybrid that uses the melancholy of mellatron driven progressive Americana and a nice big molasses thick production to allow the music to swirl and flow like the gentle breeze on a warm summers evening. There is also a touch of occasional industrial electronica that gives the sound a desolate quality at times, on 'Wait' for instance.

'Songs Of Patience' is not an easy listen. The vocals hover at a height where they are sometimes forced to strain a little, giving the album a strident feel and the music flip flops between a keyboard heavy gloop, a lighter, airier jangle and a Neil Young like acoustic. The overall feel is quite unsettling and perseverance needs to be applied to appreciate what is on here.

It is a contemplative, rather deep and heavy album that is almost impossible to penetrate on first listen. 'Songs Of Patience' rarely shifts beyond third gear and it is not until the sunnier 'Wasteland' that the load is lightened a little. You will find that the full reflective nature of this album will only be appreciated through repeated listens; via a familiarity that comes with time and patience (hence, perhaps, the aptness of the title).

The album is a little disjointed which is probably attributable to the bands mobility during the recording sessions, 'Songs Of Patience' having been recorded in eight different studios from Hollywood and Burbank to New York and Charlottesville. Though it could be argued the inconsistency perhaps saves the album from becoming samey.

The album mixes swathes of old fashioned keyboards with heavy guitars dressed with hints of Petty's jangling Rickenbacker Americana and a smattering of back country folk music. It's a heavy listen that does not need to be loud that sometimes veers a little too close to the melancholia of Cold Play's housewife friendly ambience.

Killer tracks come in the shape of 'Ophelia On My Mind' with its swathes of mellatron and the gloriously elegant 'Lay Down'. The jiggy hook of 'Come On Maker' has a big thick groove that oozes drama and 'Money For The Weekend (Pocket Full Of Shame)' has a grunt that U2 sadly misses these days.

Some have compared Alberta Cross to My Morning Jacket and The Band but this album has too much of a lonely dustbowl feel to it for that comparison to work. It has a hot dry sound that is parched, lonely and stark.

The album seems to gently fade a little towards the end. 'Life Without Warning' and 'Bonfires' gently letting the album roll to a gentle halt like a slowing train coming into a siding.

The two bonus tracks act to bulk the album out to its 50 plus minutes admirably. 'Rambling Home' does just that with its emphasis on a big bass drum and 'Wait' is a lonely plaintive cry in the desert.

'Songs Of Patience' is a very skilfully constructed album. With no obvious singles it taps into a vein of obscure popularity that will, I'm sure, lead to the sort admiration that borders on a religious fervour.

Alberta Cross has produced and is producing some great stuff, as they have here but the band has not quite got it right. There is a certain something missing that once found will fling them from the relative obscurity in which they currently languish to the heady heights of arena stardom.

The songs suggest that the Alberta boys are still refining their art but given time I'm sure everyone will be aware of Alberta Cross.

★★★☆☆


26.9.12




WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.

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Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.



Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.

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MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.

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Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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