With the release of their immense debut EP Safer Than Reality and two successful UK headline tours earlier this year¸ this time around Aliases have set out to prove that they can hold their own in larger venues whilst supporting two slightly more established acts on the European progressive metal scene¸ Textures and The Ocean.

Just as Aliases are about to hit the stage to open the night at 7.45pm¸ Onslaught Radio gets word that vocalist Jay Berast is apparently feeling somewhat under the weather¸ which leaves us slightly worried. Although the instrumental work of Graham ‘Pin’ Pinney and co. is truly remarkable¸ there are many others on the scene doing a similar thing. Though most of these other bands might not have it up to quite to the same standard¸ what elevates Aliases to an even greater level of superiority is the quality of Jay’s vocals. While most other similar outfits tend to go for the generic ‘techy’ vocals (you know the type)¸ Jay’s versatility and ability to write complex melodic passages over such involved instrumental sections is one seldom seen today. As the house lights go down¸ we are concerned that tonight Aliases may have lost their edge.

As soon as the band appear¸ though¸ and burst straight into What’s Left For Us?¸ all our doubts are well and truly destroyed. Jay storms around the stage like a man possessed¸ standing on and jumping off of Darren Pugh’s kick drum whilst unleashing some delightfully aggressive vocals. Either he’s forgotten that he’s apparently meant to be ill¸ or he never was in the first place. As the small amount of punters who’ve managed to make it into the venue in time scream along to the chorus¸ Aliases set the bar for tonight extremely high – at one point it’s almost certain that you can hear the collective jaws of Textures and The Ocean crashing to the floor backstage. Ploughing straight into The Reality of Beliefs – in Onslaught Radio’s opinion¸ the highlight of their EP – Aliases are taking no prisoners tonight. The aura of tech-metal grandmaster surrounding Pin tonight couldn’t be thicker¸ and though this is in stark contrast to the energetic and frantic style and presence of Leah Woodward on the other side of the stage¸ the two different approaches seem to gel perfectly. At first glance you may be forgiven for viewing Pin as the master and Leah as the apprentice. But upon watching Leah tonight¸ one has no choice but to conclude that she’s definitely one of the best metal guitarists around in the country today. The first signs that maybe Jay is carrying some sort of ailment tonight begin to show in the chorus¸ however¸ as he opts to sing the low harmony rather than the high¸ which is a shame¸ considering that said high harmony is what gives the song its real hook. You don’t have time to dwell on it though¸ as it’s followed by a terrifyingly tight instrumental section which would have even Ron Jarzombek applauding. 

Aliases are wasting no time tonight with their allotted half an hour stage time¸ moving swiftly on into We Never Should Have Met. Again¸ this is belted out as well as anyone would ever want to hear it¸ and underneath it all it’s painfully obvious that Darren Pugh is a bit of a percussion powerhouse¸ his drumming tonight as frantic yet precise and powerful as you could wish for. Recently out of hospital¸ Joe Heaton’s bass playing this evening is the perfect glue to hold all of the chaos on stage together¸ his parts executed to perfection. However¸ you do have to say that a bit of stage presence from him wouldn’t go amiss – with Pin¸ Leah and Jay thrashing about on stage (and in Jay’s case¸ sometimes off it¸ running up and down on the floor in front of the barrier)¸ Joe occasionally looks like a hired gun told to stand and the back and just play the songs. Apart from some decent backing vocals and some slick playing¸ there’s nothing really to draw your attention to him¸ which is a shame. You could argue though¸ that if he too were charging around the stage then there would surely be a collision at some point. The fact is¸ though¸ that a small injection of stage presence for Joe would potentially take Aliases from being a great live band to an unmissable one.

A stunning rendition of All That Glitters is Gold follows¸ before a punishing Sirens brings the set to a close¸ and the whole thing is over almost as soon as it began. Tonight¸ Aliases have shown that they’re not just piggybacking off of the underground success of SikTh – they are a true force in not only British¸ but European metal. After a brilliant performance tonight¸ it’s clear that this band have matured so much in such a short space of time (even in comparison to the Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself tour in April). Their sound is developed¸ refined¸ and their songs rehearsed to death. After tonight’s powerful display of technical mastery and command of the live stage¸ Aliases are certainly destined for great things and you’d be a fool to miss them next time they come around.

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