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A Lonely Crowd - User Hostile CD (album) cover


A Lonely Crowd


Heavy Prog

3.90 | 31 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars Over the past few years, the Australian rock scene has exploded with a slew of innovative, creative, and exciting new bands. Much of the recent progressive music has been based in a wide host of sounds, bringing in influences ranging from punk to metal to post-rock to hard rock to folk and so much more, making for a very eclectic, diverse, and mature sound. This wonderful explosion of wonderful music has been manifested by many bands over the past few years, most successfully Karnivool, but also bands such as Arcane, Caligula's Horse, Pirate, and, as you might guess, the newer band A Lonely Crowd.

Led by a powerful female vocalist, half of which is seen in the form of former singer Leah Ceff and the other half in the form of current vocalist Xen Pow, the band creates a wonderful mesh of hardcore punk, "alternative" progressive rock, an interesting brand of Eastern European folk music, alt metal, and many different seemingly conflicting yet oddly cohesive genres to make their wonderfully crafted 16-track debut User Hostile. With plenty of fantastic harmonies, creative voicings, genius compositions, and so much more, this debut leaves little to be desired for the listener.

The seemingly expansive 16 songs on the album cover a wide hour long spectrum, with songs ranging from upbeat Eastern European folk-based tunes to near pure hardcore punk. The diversity of the songs is really what leads to the great genius that backs this album. While compositions seem to race sporadically and randomly through different themes, each song has an omnipresent fluidity and glue that holds them together amid the seemingly insane and inane emotional rollercoasters of music.

The emotion and energy that has been put into this album is another truly defining factor. Listening to an album that is full of emotion can always be an enjoyable experience and can be good when you're feeling down, but the mixture of emotion and pure energy and joy in performing this energetic music really gets the listener into the music. On top of this, the accessible female vocals make the music easily hummable and add a fantastic dynamic to the upbeat instrumentation.

The album contains many great songs, which is an easily attainable feat when 16 songs are present on the album. Each song's title is a quirky play on words, and songs like "Barbed Haywire," "Tight Rope Somnambulists," "End Without End," "Misunderestimated," "Status Anxiety," "Bipolar Bear," and "Glass Eyes" really stuck out to me. It may seem like quite a few memorable tracks, but just a cursory listen to the album can show you the high quality of even these few tracks is often carried out throughout the entire album. The songs' ingenuity, creative tone, and wonderful structures, as sporadic and disorganized as they may seem, make them really special for a listener and appreciator of the heavy prog genre. The more modern heavy prog has the potential to be incredibly creative, and A Lonely Crowd have successfully pulled most of the strings to attain the truly "unique" card, a descriptor I rarely give to bands.

A Lonely Crowd's debut album User Hostile has seriously impressed me from my preliminary listens just evaluating them on the Heavy Prog Team to my intensive evaluations as a reviewer. The band's unique amalgamation of some of the most opposing genres into a cohesive and appealing whole is impressive already, and the manifestation of just their style in their recorded product is supremely enjoyable as well. While during my first listens some things didn't seem right to be on the album, especially the hardcore-based and overall "different" ender "Skyscrapers," but after a few listens the more abrasive track, based in a hardcore style screaming and aggressive riffing, seems to put a nice cap on the energetic album, and, while not being the perfect addition to album, still serves a place on the album. Overall, there is not much more to be said. I have just about fallen in love with this album, and I am very excited to hear more from this young Aussie band. 5- stars.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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