Review: Triton Devs – Stay Alive
Rockshots Records (June 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Triton Devs’ ‘Stay Alive‘ is an amalgam of an album featuring metal, funk, and even dance influences and is the creation of composer/guitarist/sound engineer Blacky Lee Stone. The album opens with ‘Black Angel’. It’s an instrumental opener, is one minute thirty-seven seconds long, and is the best song on the album. Why? Because it does not feature either vocals or drums, two areas that are the most problematic with this album.
It’s amazing to me that Blacky would choose to promote himself as the sound engineer in the press release. The production is some of the worst that I have heard in years. The album sounds like it was recorded underwater. When recording, it is crucial to get a good drum sound. If you fail at this, you run the risk of an album sounding like a demo, and that’s exactly what happens here.
All of the songs have a muddled sound and are not properly mixed. I had trouble understanding what the singer was saying, and if you can’t sing along to a song, then that is a kiss of death. It also doesn’t help that singer Eric Castiglia is not that great to begin with. He’s a “head” singer. As a result, there’s not a lot of power coming from his throat, making his vocals sound nasally and whining. There’s times he goes for a deeper growl-type vocal delivery, but it’s not very impressive. It also sounds like his voice has been run through Pro Tools. In fact, there’s lots of “effects” going on throughout the album, which makes a poorly produced album that much more jumbled.
The album contains ten songs, but only seven of those songs contain vocals. One is the previously mentioned intro and two instrumentals. Two songs have similar titles, ‘This Summer Day’ and ‘Summer Day’. The press release notes that one song features the lead singer and the other is an instrumental version. I’ve listened to them back to back several times and they sound like two different songs, so it seems silly to name two songs with nearly similar titles.
There are some talented musicians on display with this album. Bassist Anna Portalupi and drummer Mike Terrana feature on a bunch of releases that I own. It’s a shame that they are not permitted to shine like they so respectfully deserve. There are definitely some interesting elements going on here and had this album been recorded and mixed properly, we could have ended up with something exciting and unique. As it stands now, I could not wait for this album to be over.