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ALASKA

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Alaska biography
From Pennsylvania, USA - One-off release in 1998

This duo from Scranton Pennsylvania is formed by Al Lewis (Vocals, Drums, Percusion & Guitars) and John O'Hara in the keyboards, the first question you ask yourself when looking at the band's photo is ¿What's Jon Anderson doing behind the drums with Geddy Lee in the keyboards
The two musicians met in 1997 when playing in a cover band and decided to form a band, choosing the name was easy because both loved the UK song ALASKA, so without quitting their day jobs (Al is a constructor and John is a musical engineer) they recorded some songs and started to tour, according to O'Hara on an interview given for Stormbringer Webzine - http://www.stormbringerwebzine.co.uk/Interviews/AlaskaInterview.html - said they had a rough time because the Scranton audience likes cover bands and in one occasion they were asked during a gig to play "Macarena" and "YMCA".

Scranton's scenario according to Al is active for top 40, dance music and rock & roll, the public placed a lot of pressure on them for not having the decency playing music which the people has grown with it and love, but they insisted in their task and were invited to several Festivals like Progday, Near Fest and some outside USA, so in a few months they were able to release their debut (And only release until now) just called ALASKA with a cover incredibly similar to the ASIA logo..

The album is very solid, not outstanding but keeps getting better as the songs advance, the general atmosphere is like Tormato meets Trilogy with a touch of hard Rock, for this album the band counted with eight guest musicians including such instruments as bassoon, violins, viola, flute and oboe, with which they create a coherent orchestral and Symphonic sound.

According to the website, the duo is almost ready to release their second album which they promised will be stronger, but the news are not very encouraging because Al Lewis has been recruited by Starcastle, so probably we will not be listening their new material very soon.

ALASKA is not original or innovative, they just stick to the 70's Symphonic formula, but their sound is brilliant and bombastic so it's worth to give them a chance, I'm sure their debut album won't disappoint Symphonic followers.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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2.56 | 20 ratings
Alaska
1998

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ALASKA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alaska by ALASKA album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.56 | 20 ratings

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Alaska
Alaska Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars Good band name; bad music.

The references to YES and STARCASTLE is very evident. The album is keyboards driven to the extreme. Pompeous keyboards, that is. Some tasty guitars are included too, but keyboards is the main instrument here. The sound is also very American with clear references to film music, New Age and AOR music. ALASKA may be up in the north on the map, but music wise this music is in the middle of USA with it's pomp AOR songs. Symphonic prog ? Sort off..... But more of the sterile sort and not the madcap ELP sort of symphonic prog. I find no similarities between ELP and ALASKA.

The music on this album is pretty generic and boring. No elements of surprises. Just a run through a very familiar territory. A couple of half decent songs is the only saving grace here. That's all I want to say. This is not my cup of tea.

2 stars

 Alaska by ALASKA album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.56 | 20 ratings

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Alaska
Alaska Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Alaska is a band that incorporates in their music sounds and symphonic elements from Yes and Starcastle. Al Lewis is the voice and drumer of Starcastle so it's clear that this band is influenced by them. This is symphonic music with very nice passages, nice keyboard works through the album, but sometimes i think is to mellow. Anyway good effort by the band, some strong compositions are Museum Dreams ( great vocal harmonies) and the longest track from here Tiananman Square. All in all 3 stars album for me, still to some of you is a copy of Yes and Starcastle but to me is a good symphonic album that has some highlights here and there. Pleasent most of the time, good but non essential, for fans who listen Yes, Starcastle, Legacy.
 Alaska by ALASKA album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.56 | 20 ratings

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Alaska
Alaska Symphonic Prog

Review by cmidkiff

1 stars To me this does't sound like Yes or Tormato at all (See band biography). Tormato has loads of guitar and bass driving it. Alaska has almost no guitar and very weak drums and bass. The vocalist sounds like he is singing out of his range and even flat at times. Keyboards are what dominate this album and pretty much define the sound. The closest they get to Tormato might be "Circus of Heaven"
 Alaska by ALASKA album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.56 | 20 ratings

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Alaska
Alaska Symphonic Prog

Review by PROGCOM

3 stars The good news is that these musicians have made a credible effort to revisit the true spirit of Yes. They lay out some really interesting parts. Especially the longer epic songs climb to some degree of majesty. The politically relevant Tienanman Square is an astounding piece of labour. Its development of themes and melodies really sets an example. Too bad the production of the whole record is too clean, since this is a typical studio project. It lacks sharpness in performance.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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