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Alhena: Alhena

Taking influences from The Gathering and their fellow countrymen Riverside and with hints of early Within Temptation or even Epica, Polish quintet Alhena regale us with their self titled debut EP. The self assured nature of the compositions on show and the classy musicianship that this outfit display certainly wouldn't lead you to think that this 25 minute offering was a first outing, something even less obvious when you factor in some classy arrangements and an above average production.

As mentioned The Gathering is probably the best comparison for this band and while at times it is a pretty close likeness, little Gothic moments and the odd Neo-Prog shimmy do offer up different angles and focal points. Led by guitarist Tomasz Bogulski, who has a similar tone to Marillion's Steve Rothery in places and keyboard player Piotr Kowalski, Alhena simmer along nicely, relying on atmospherics and the strong vocals of Katarzyna Dziemianowick to create their vision. Dense keyboard melodies lay the foundation for a variety of guitar attacks although the mesmerising, if a little accented vocals add to the effect, being used more as an instrument than as the lead point of the songs. Everything is blended together smoothly, although possibly too smoothly and considering that this EP doesn't quite reach the thirty minute mark, the similarity from song to song is something that really must be addressed before Alhena look to release a full length effort. That said, there's no doubt that Bogulski and Kowalski are talented and compelling musicians, who are more than ably backed by the rhythm pairing of Tadeusz Kolecki on bass and Piotr Grugel on drums, which means that it should all be onwards and upwards from here on for Alhena.

There's room for improvement and a broader scope to the Alhena sound, but for a debut effort this EP shows barrowloads of promise and hints at even more interesting times ahead for Polish Prog Rock.

Track Listing
1. Trial
2. Better
3. You Lost Me
4. Breath
5. Nemesis

Added: March 19th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Alhena MySpace
Hits: 4485
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Alhena: Alhena
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-03-18 23:21:21
My Score:

Alhena has created a very good symphonic rock album lead by the beautiful voice of Katarzyna Dziemianowicz. The rest of the band is built upon the solid foundation of sound created by Tadeusz Kolecki, on bass; Tomasz Bogulski, on guitars; Piotr Grugel, on drums, and Piotr Kowalski, on synths. This Polish band was formed back in January 2010 in Bydgoszcz, and the addition of Dziemianowicz should propel this band skyward.

All of the tracks on the album are good, but Breath, with Dziemianowicz's best sweet vocals, and Nemesis, with Kowalski's best synth and keyboard creations, help elevate the sound this band creates. This is a short EP taste of what the band can offer and I'm hoping I'll get a chance to hear the entire album when it is available.

I've added them to my watch list.

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