Release date: July 29, 2016
Label: Presagio Records
Running time: 81:39 (2CD)
Production details: Engineered & Recorded by Rodrigo Martínez at Estudio Del Sur
Produced by Germán Vergara
Mixed by Angelo Marini at CHT Estudios
Artwork by Omar Galindo
Graphic Design by Christian Velásquez
Review by Diego Camargo Rating:
Thoughts: So here it is Hawaii (2016), the new Aisles album. Aisles is a band from Chile and Hawaii is their fourth album and it was released by their own label Presagio.
In their debut album The Yearning (2005) the band was pretty much shooting its bullets to every side, that album was lacking unity. In Sudden Walks (2009) they corrected that, finding their way. On their third effort 4:45 AM (2013) they left their Neo Prog influence behind and a new sound emerged. So, what about their new effort?
Hawaii (2016) is a double concept album inspired on a post apocalyptic world where human colonies were established in space after the destruction of Earth. But before the extinction of the planet Earth a project was initiated to make sure human race would survive. And this my friends is where Hawaii (2016) takes us in its almost 82 minutes: a sci-fi Prog adventure.
It is important to follow the lyrics and it's a delight to do that because the Digipak in which Hawaii (2016) is encased is just beautiful! Also, vocals are a very important part in Aisles' music so that's one more reason to follow the lyrics with attention.
Musically speaking, Aisles has grown a bit more since their last album 4:45 AM (2013) (the first with their new lineup) and although you can find many great and interesting instrumental passages (like in the opening duo 'The Poet', 'Upside Down') the melody is what strikes you. Hawaii (2016) is all about melody and the moods one can create with it. Sebastián Vergara pulls double duty in many moments where he lays different vocal tracks to create melodies.
Like with many of its contemporaries, Aisles bet on the electronic side of the Modern Prog in some moments (like 'Year Zero', 'Upside Down' or 'CH-7'), but always focusing on melody. But my favorite tracks on the album, however, have to be 'Terra' with its acoustic and melancholic mood and 'Pale Blue Dot' with its melodic Prog feeling (in a way, the 'old' Aisles sound). 'Still Alive' has that same 'old Aisles' feeling and it's a very good track.
'Club Hawaii' has a voice intro that could have been used more throughout the album and it's one of the few that really sounds like a Neo Prog song.
All in all Hawaii (2016) is a very solid effort from this talented Chilean band. And it was deserved that they just got back from an European tour, one of the few South American Prog bands to be able to do that. Of course it may be a daunting task to sit through all of the 82 minutes in one sitting and if your favorite kind of Prog is not the melodic you may find yourself asking 'why?', but if that's your sound you're going to find many moments for your ears pleasure.
I believe that if you're fan of bands like A.C.T (for its melody) or Ayreon (for its concept) you should definitely give this album a spin, I would do that if I haven't already.