REVIEW: Alase – A Matter of Time


Finnish atmospheric proggers ALASE are a relatively new bunch to start making waves in the scene, having released their debut album, “Vastaus,” just a few years ago in 2019. They did make quite a good first impression with their entrée, which nicely echoed the haunting melancholy of more established household names in the pantheon of alternative rock and metal, such as A PERFECT CIRCLE, KLONE, and KATATONIA. So, I knew to expect something spectacular from their sophomore studio endeavor, “A Matter of Time,” released on April 14th, 2023, via Inverse Records. Upon its release, the band claimed that this new effort would be more versatile and progressive, which obviously got me even more hyped up about it before hearing a single note from it. So, now that I’ve given it a few good spins, how does it fare? Is there any truth to these claims? Oh, I’d say there is – there is, indeed.

Understanding the Waves” sets things in motion with riffs heavy enough to warp the Einsteinian spacetime and yet, there is a sense of weightlessness, courtesy of some sublime post-rock guitar legatos and the clean, ethereal vocals provided by guest vocalist Juha Tretjakov. The vocal harmonies sound particularly delicious, resonating with the haunting air of the unsung heroes of this particular sort of atmospheric gloom, VERTIGO STEPS, from yesteryear. Further into the song, a few choice lines of screamed vocals, provided by guitarist Janne Lunnas, deliver the final knockout. By setting the tone for the new album, the opener does exactly what it is supposed to do – it is highly cinematic and progressive and yet still packs a bite!

It was probably the leading single, “Clear Sky Is Not A Curse,” released ahead of the album, that initially hyped me up. It draws from the same bag of tricks, basically, as the opener but then again, why not? Half of the appeal stems from the strong sense of melody, perhaps leaning a good notch toward Slavic melancholy – and it permeates the whole album. Paired with the somewhat post-rockish, almost ambient guitar flourishes that adorn the pile-driving riffs, I reckon there is a very slim chance to go wrong. Here and there, you almost get subtle flashbacks of TESSERACT‘s most atmospheric endeavors, although ALASE does not seem to fancy the djenty side of things as much.

The next few tracks roll out more banging riffs, killer melodies, haunting vocal harmonies, and atmospherics – almost as though driving home the point that, indeed, this sort of sonic concoction surely is the band’s forté. On “Unburden,” ALASE does resonate with the air of KATATONIA‘s most heart-wrenching endeavors, with some added screamo-vocals – and it becomes increasingly difficult to single out my favorite track from the outing because, with each new song, I feel the temptation to dub it the best thus far. Then again, I’m a sucker for this sort of atmospheric gloom.

What about the claim that this new effort was supposed to introduce the band to us at its most versatile as well? Well, there is the track, “Life Ahead,” for one thing; perhaps slightly unexpectedly, it traverses the somewhat 1990s-tinted alternative-rock terrain, what with the odd electronic drum-machine beats and jazzy guitar chords and all. Better yet, it is all at once reminiscent of as versatile outfits as the post-metal posse, CALLISTO, the atmospheric alt.rock of VERTIGO STEPSb and those 1990s acts such as CANDLEBOX and COLLECTIVE SOUL. So, I guess it is fair to claim that, yes, on their new album, ALASE are indeed at their most versatile.

What does strike me as rather unusual is the way the band has published information regarding the vocal duties on the new album; as per the official website, it appears that the official line-up does not feature a vocalist, but rather, the vocals are provided by a few guest vocalists, as well as the aforementioned guitarist, Lunnas, who has taken care of the rougher vocal parts, in particular, as well as the ambient backing vocals. Most of the vocal parts are tackled by Juha Tretjakov of PRESSURE POINTS and VANSIDIAN – so, it should come as no surprise that the vocal department is handled in nothing short of a sublime manner. As it happens, Tretjakov does a pretty impressive job in Finnish too, in the album closer, “Ajan Kysymys” – a perfectly haunting song to wrap up such a pristine selection. The violins add a particularly nice touch!

By and large, ALASE does not let us down with their new album – it is every ounce as progressive and versatile as they claimed it would be; moreover, with just the right amount of crushing heaviness and ethereal weightlessness, it comes off as a sly wink from the edge of a singularity where all matter gets crushed to infinite density and the curvature of spacetime becomes infinite, as well – where time ceases to exist. So, on top of all the excellent things about the album, the title is just as apt as it could possibly be.

Written by Jani Lehtinen


  1. Understanding the Waves
  2. Clear Sky Is Not a Curse
  3. Fate’s Intervention
  4. Unburden
  5. Life Ahead
  6. The Source
  7. Out of Place
  8. Feeling Free
  9. Ajan Kysymys


Janne Lunnas – guitars, screaming vocals, backing vocals

Mikko Häkälä – guitars

Ari Miettinen – bass

Ville Aatsinki – drums


Juha Tretjakov – vocals on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9

Markus Hirvonen – vocals on track 3


Inverse Records