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Unfortunate frequency these days, heavy rock can be caught between a rock and a hard place – no pun intended. Between the humourless emotional histrionics of post-hardcore, and the self-parodic hedonism of glam-metal, hard rock has become so self-conscious that there's little room for levity or, dare it be said, fun. But now, Allies And Aces beg to differ. Unburdened by such Western cultural baggage, the Tokyo-based quintet crank out muscular & melodic hard rock with a conviction and joy scarcely found in modern loud music. In little over a year since their inception, Allies have become the hardest-charging new band in Japan, quickly winning converts with their diamond-cut riffs and fevered performances. Leading the fray is vocalist Leo Sakamoto, whose firebrand showmanship and pythonic tenor make him a dynamic eye-magnet. He's flanked by guitarists Dean Kessler and Daisuke Fujimoto, six-string craftsmen who deftly maneuver between sinewy crunch and mammoth squall. Kenji Usui pumps out fluid basslines and bounds about the stage like a man possessed; he is the heart beating beneath the band's brawn. Meanwhile, behind the drum kit, Tre Packard packs a thunderous punch the size of his native Texas. Musically, Allies And Aces follow in the footsteps of such '90s hard-rock titans as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, with steam-rolling rhythms and atomic choruses to spare. But as their debut EP, Full Circle Orbit, demonstrates, Allies update their influences with an omnivorous ear for new sounds. Sci-fi sound effects, uncanny vocal samples, and psychedelic flourishes accent the songs seamlessly. Mix in the dark melodicism of the Mars Volta and the dextrous grit of Queens of the Stone Age, and it becomes inarguable that Allies are no Marshall-stack nostalgia act. Like the spacescape horizon adorning their EP, Allies And Aces look and sound like a brighter – and louder – future for hard rock.


Guitar Dean Kessler
Drums 3
Bass Kenji Usui
Daisuke Fujimoto
Vocals Leotard "Golden Boy" Sakamoto
Tatsuki Saitou
Photographer Michael Lara
Audio Overlord
Seb Roberts


Full Circle Orbit

Full Circle Orbit

List price¥2,200
GenresRock, Music, Alternative

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Full Circle Orbit iTunes sales page
1 Skylines
2 Patchwork Heart
3 Blaster
4 Mr. Wazanski
5 Landscapes
6 Plan C
7 Wild Blue
8 Full Circle