Review by Mick Sayce
First off we had rock music, then heavy rock, then heavy metal and so on…now we seem to have another title to add to the genre, that of Indigenous Rock/Metal.
Hailing from South Auckland, New Zealand, these Polynesian four -or sometimes fivesome- have a variety of strings to their musical bows, especially as they are apparently the first-ever Samoan heavy metal band. Bearing that in mind, they have set a very high benchmark for any other bands from the Antipodes to match up to.
Browsing through their discography, it would appear that Ala Mai is their first album, albeit currently only in digital format, but what a great album it is. Some tracks are heavy, with drums that thunder out an incessant beat backed by wailing guitars and deep vocals -a lot of which are in their native language – Samoan- it still sounds good though.
Others are more towards a thrash metal style with the vocalist rasping his way through the lyrics while the instruments maintain the ninety-mile-an-hour pounding beat. Some are even a mix of the two, especially where the lyrics are concerned.
Then there is a couple of ‘softer’ acoustic tracks, namely track 8, Cold Summers Nights. Track 10, Never Forgotten, starts off all acoustic with an ethereal-sounding choir in the background but soon builds to a heavy tune, again with vocals again, mainly in Samoan.
The final track, Mo’omo’ogo Sa Molia, is only short and is more of the more typical Polynesian, (I include Hawaii in that), style of singing that we are more acquainted with and accustomed to in Europe, so I am guessing that it is a song of farewell or perhaps even finality.
So, all in all, even if you do not speak Samoan, it doesn’t matter a jot because the best music has the ability to transcend borders and languages and this album does exactly that. It is something completely different from that part of the world and I for one hope we will be hearing much more from them.
Filivaa James (vocals, keyboard)
Oliver Leupolu (guitar, production)
Shaymen Rameka (drums)
Gideon Voon (guitars)
01…Samoa O La’u Fesili, 02…Aiga, 03…Le Manu, 04…Nafanua,05…Ua Masa’a, 06…Ala Mai, 07…The World Bleeds, 08…Cold Summers Night, 09…Finally, 10…Never Forgotten, 11…Atali’i, 12…Samoa Mo Samoa, 13…Mo’omo’ogo Sa Molia.
Review for Jace Media