‘Permanent Revolution’ sets the album off well, introducing Halo Tora’s progressive, alternative rock with a minimalistic piano intro that builds through layers of spacious guitars and soothing vocals until it reaches a crescendo of epic, soaring vocals. This theme continues with ‘Ruins’ before ‘The Bones that Rock the Cradle’ interjects to vary the pace, adding a layer of distortion and dynamics to the mix. Here, the choruses hit harder and with more regularity, feeding off the heavier instrumentation to deliver a more typical alternative rock anthem. These heavier tracks act as pivotal moments, providing contrast to the slower, more progressive songs on the album, preventing the songs from bleeding together and sounding formulaic.
Vocalists Chris Alexander and Ian McCall, who also handle guitar duties, fill a spectrum of tones from soothing to aggressive and the harmonies between them are a key strength of the band’s sound. On the more progressive songs, the climactic choruses are consistently impactful, however the moments leading up to these crescendoes can feel disposable and easily forgotten at times. ‘Needles’ is the exception as the dual vocals deliver memorable, emotive melodies and stands out as the perfect representation of the band’s progressive formula.
Overall, this is an excellent debut and the level of detail behind the arrangement of the tracks elevates it from being a collection of well-written songs to a well-balanced overall composition. Achieving this with a debut album is an excellent achievement and sets a high bar for future records. Fans of similar progressive alternative acts such as Mogwai and Oceansize should take note of this record as it sets an impressive benchmark for future debuts in this genre.
‘OmniOne’ by Halo Tora is out now on East End Records.
Words by Mark Johnson (@Testwood)