The ability to break the mold and boldly follow your own creative path is to be a true, authentic artist. It’s a trait that has become exceedingly rare in the rock music world, but there are still some young firebrand acts out there, and we love finding and sharing them with you. Chasing After Alice hails from the ATX, an audacious 5-piece company whose melodic metal musings are a breath of fresh air in an increasingly crowded genre. Begin, their second EP, was released earlier this year, and it is a portrait of a powerful young band who is honing their craft into something spectacular.
I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking “Hmm… sounds kinda like J-Rock”. That’s not something you hear everyday in 2019. The twin guitar assault of Dustin Belanger and Carson Carter deliver everything from downtuned, djenty six-string chugging to warp-drive soloing and juicy guitar fills. Drummer Justin Beamon and bassist Garret Baker provide the punishing, unyielding rhythm structure to the melodic menagerie of CAA, holding down insane lines while the six-stringers shoot off their cannons. Oh, and did I mention the insane talent of lead singer Rachel Thompson? Yeah, she tears it up. From the soft, siren-like intro of the EP, “Begin Pt.1” to the primal, power metal-esque “Trixter”, she and the boys deliver the goods with attitude and expression, their versatility and range of influences on full display. The comfort and control of Thompson on “Trixter” is impressive, and as the band continues to grow and write more music, it will no doubt be a guiding light that shines on all of their strengths. “Haunted” is a tune with more modern flavors, but the music is still exciting and inspired. The band really has a strong handle on the intricate use of dynamics and pitch, creating movements within their songs and really crafting each track with a careful, special touch. Thompson doesn’t seem to be as confident with this song, though, and the vocal performance comes off a tad flat in comparison to the soaring musical arrangement. A little more conviction and attitude would really sell it. Also, there’s a one minute keyboard outro that feels just a bit cumbersome. The guitar work is stellar, and the riff play between the two guitarists is a real treat. “Begin Pt.2”, the last track of the EP, is similar… Thompson hits some beautiful high notes, but just sounds a little too sing-songy. The flashy guitar work continues, and the band does a fabulous job weaving together passages that bring a wonderful end to a very special recording. With the help of a top-shelf producer, they could go from creating an EP with many golden moments to recording an album that is pure gold. The songwriting and structuring is that good.
The future of rock and metal is upon us, good people. Don’t take my word for it! Just go catch a local show… more and more inspired young minds are creating brilliant music, and Chasing After Alice is certainly one of them. They’re honing the edge to a masterpiece of a sword, and whenever they decide to swing it, nothing will be left standing. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website. Also, don’t miss their upcoming showcase in Austin on Thursday, October 24th at Come and Take It Live, where they’ll be competing for the chance to play at Knotfest Meets Forcefest in Mexico City with Slipknot! Check it out here.