This is the debut album from Chicago-based trio Stars Aligned. All three members were previously in the quartet Panic Switch, who released a five-track EP last year, but when one person left they decided to move in a heavier direction and keep working as a trio with a new name. They state that they are influenced by artists such as Seether, Godsmack, 90’s grunge music, and acts such as Genesis to Mortification. Michael Wulf is on vocals and guitar and bass, and it is the first time I have seen mentioned in a press release that a musician is currently a serving member of the armed services (he has been a Marine since 2001). He is joined by Jonathan Raz on guitar and bass, and James Purpura on drums.

I find it rather strange that the band I feel they have most similarities with, Nickelback, isn’t mentioned as an influence as it is hard to get away from that melodic repetitive style of music, albeit with only single vocals as opposed to double-tracked. The result is an album that is good, and contains some strong hooks and elements with a nasal touch to the vocals which definitely adds emotion and interest, but there just isn’t enough going on in the way of originality, and there are times that they appear to run out of ideas and the song just meanders, repeats, and I soon found myself becoming quite distracted. The production is strong, and in that respect it certainly doesn’t come across as a self-release, but overall this just doesn’t contain the spark that makes one want to keep returning to it.

Rating: 5/10

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