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AUDIO REIGN: The Perfect Sea

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May 10

Adelaide hard rockers Audio Reign have entered 2024 with renewed vigour on the back of their signing to XMusic and hot on the heels of their crushing single Motorway which was unleashed last November.

Last In Line, Relentless, Breathe and Crown have solidified the forward trajectory of Audio Reign, all of which (plus the single Angel which came out earlier) are taken from the band’s sophomore album, The Perfect Sea which is released on May 10.

Having been a massive fan of the band since hearing an earlier single Betrayal, it is with a touch of anticipation I settle in to devour the full album, starting with the explicit version of Relentless. And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like a cuss word or two as an introduction to a fresh slab of rock?

Kicking off with some flamenco style acoustic guitars, Audio Reign waste little time dusting off the cobwebs as they settle into a hard rocking number dripping with attitude.

Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jake Fleming has a familiar, yet utterly engaging vocal aura about him, forcing his way into our sonic boundaries with a rock drenched swagger that suggests the attitude isn’t just part of the music.

Bass player Ashley Lovett lays down a solid and tough as fuck platform that allows lead guitarist Alek Dyrynda and drummer Dieter Schoell ample space to attack their instruments, which take a sharp turn into heavier territory with a wicked vocal breakdown chanting “bullet in the chamber” that intensifies rapidly before the guitars get even meatier and tastier.

Another acoustic led mini breakdown eases things back ever so slightly before Fleming renews hostilities as the rest of the band play toilfully with a fluctuating musical landscape that shifts from rock to hard rock to metal infused intent with ease.

Another breakdown – this time led by Schoell – entices a furious guitar solo from Dyrynda that induces a fresh bout of hostilities from Fleming that carries Relentless through to a forceful conclusion that gives the indication Audio Reign aren’t here to appease the masses.

The title track sweeps in next, a thunderous kick drum intro inviting a wash of guitars before pulling back markedly into an even tempered and submissive track that rises and falls on the back of a steady swathe of menacing guitar riffs.

It is an engaging number without grabbing you head on, instead utilizing a more rounded and accessible approach. While not a love song there is definitely a sense of longing in The Perfect Sea’s delivery, washing over stormy weather with it’s mast proudly upright and gentle winds billowing in its sails.

If anything this number showcases the vocal versatility of Fleming, offering a glimpse into the soothing side of his chops in direct contrast to the angst riddled delivery of the opening track.

Crown sleazes out of the speakers next before gaining momentum rapidly and taking on a more direct hard rock approach complete with a catchy guitar hook that rumbles back and forth amid the forceful drum patterns and gravelly vocals.

This is pure hard rock in all of its exemplarary glory and, for mine, is where Audio Reign are at their best. Driving music with a contempt for regularity and conformity that oozes mayhem.

Just the way I like it.

A tasty guitar solo midway through increases the sonic impact of Crown as it shifts gears with precision on an almost recurring loop until crashing to an end of almost violent proportions.

Stand out track for me so far.

Angel is up next, and judging by the name I am already thinking we are about to come across the token album ballad. A shuffling drum intro has me questioning this notion and the crunching guitars that spiral urgently offer more hope but it is all in vain as everything backs off and Fleming soothes into action.

While essentially a slower number there are enough rough edges sporadically appearing to elevate it above the traditional love song but it still fails to rise enough to keep me interested for the duration.

Nothing personal guys, I’m just not a fan of the love song sorry.

Forgotten You quickly announces it isn’t – as the name suggests – a one-two love song punch as quickly established by screeching guitars and rapid fire drumming that explode into a maelstrom of sonic disparity that reeks of contempt.

Fleming adds more starch to his vocals here without losing his ability to elicit a plethora of emotions, which is not an easy thing to do.

This is actually quite an angry song and I find myself once more in a state of involuntary convulsions (some would call it dancing) at the frenetic pace and balanced delivery that Audio Reign punctuate their music with.

These guys know how to craft a song and allow each other enough space to showcase their individual talents without detracting from the essence of each song, a strength that only comes with hours and practice and dedication.

Which shines through in abundance already on The Perfect Sea.

Breathe stutters to life next with a cool as fuck bass run that leads into a fresh bout of hostilities between drums and guitar which continues unabated as Fleming leads this track into calmer territory on the back of a comforting vocal delivery that breaches the boundaries of rock and hard rock sensibilities just enough to sit somewhere in between.

This one has radio written all over it – in fact most of these songs so far wouldn’t be out of place on commercial radio while still maintaining a rock edge that defies overall acceptance.

Last In Line fires up courtesy of some precision drumming that suddenly gives way to a softer underbelly. It’s another of the many rock tunes here that is unoffensive while still maintaining enough division to avoid being cast into the unwanted sell out basket.

Which is actually a good point. Audio Reign are one of those bands that with a slight shift in direction could easily become the darlings of mainstream radio but you get the feeling they don’t want that.

Or rather they wouldn’t sacrifice their morals enough to be in that position. It’s a fine line but one which Audio Reign sit firmly on the harder edge of while still maintaining the ability to appeal to a wider audience by virtue of their affable nature.

Motorway sets forth with a stuttering guitar riff punctuated by sporadic drum rolls that set the scene for a desolate and rough sonic terrain.

As the guitars chugg with a rock infused sensibility Fleming sets about easing us into the aural journey down said Motorway without pushing the needle to red. Instead this track purrs along like a well oiled racecar, weaving its way in and out of traffic as it builds steadily with a catchy chorus and casual harmonies.

Then Audio Reign shift into overdrive courtesy of a mini breakdown that sees Dyrynda attack his guitar with more ferocity as Schoell and Lovett both put their feet down and suddenly we are in a sprint rather than a marathon. This track is Audio Reign’s Grand Prix, shifting back and forth through the gears while showing enough restraint to leave enough in the tank to power to the finish line. Absolute cracker.

Whisper could be another dreaded love song, but starts off with an intriguing wash of instrumentalization that is carried by a wholesome drum pattern underneath layered and fluctuating vocals that echo and bounce off themselves to create a whirlwind of emotions.

This is a cool track that is different to anything else on The Perfect Sea, offering more proof – if any was needed – that Audio Reign still have a few sonic weapons at their disposal. The song seems to be telling a story or refereeing a personal war of sorts with the constant barrage of purposeful guitar play adding an element of confusion that is as deliberate as it is engaging.

Final track Gone announces itself courtesy of acoustic guitar work void of purpose or intent, instead offering up a measured and subtle piece of vocal led music that is made all the better for its emptiness. Some string instruments add greater effect but Gone is primarily a vehicle for Fleming’s softer persona and a damn fine one at that.

A ballad you may ask?

It could be construed as such, but given the power and impact created by a lack of amplified music on this number I would have to give it the thumbs up. Hell, I even made it to the end which is a rarity for a softer number.

The Perfect Sea has managed to create the perfect musical storm over its ten tracks, showcasing a maturity and understanding of their craft that mirrors the recent rise of Audio Reign.

Let’s hope this propels the boys to even greater deserved heights.


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