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"Aletheian - 'Dying Vine' 2"

"Wow. Here's gem of a record from Pennsylvania's Aletheian (formerly Crutch) who have to be one of the US's best undiscovered death metal bands. Superbly done technical, atmospheric and progressive death metal that isn't pretentious or too unoriginal.

Now, this isn't the brutal technicality of Gorod, Capharnaum or the like, but the elegant, flowing, swirling, synth flocked artistic complexity that resembles the classic styles of Atheist, Death, Cynic, Believer, recently Sceptic and Theory In Practice. The line between overly showy intricacy and actual song writing is perfectly implemented as Aletheian command attention
between mesmerizing musical dalliances with slower, more atmospheric passages. The slower moments actually reminded me a little of the horribly underrated and now defunct US band Summer Dying.

"Paragon" opens the album in grandiose style with delicate clean vocals over Joel Thorpe's raspy screams and the eloquent Schuldiner inspired guitars of Alex Kenis and Donny Swigart that shimmer with skill, and slow to draining ebb. "Broken Legacy" is a bit choppy for me, considering the openings track's perfection, but it gives Kenis and Swigart a chance to flex their appendages and allows drummer Joe Walmer to be a little more experimental. "Out of the Shadows" returns to the more artfully progressive melodics and "As the Fall Breaks" is pure latter era Death, down to the jazzy introductory bass lines
and hypnotic mid paced angular riffing. Joel Thorpe isn't the most dominant vocalist I've heard, but he is serviceable "An Open Grave" is arguably the album's most aggressive track, with Thorpe adopting a lower register growl and some atonal clean vocals, but the entire track takes a while to settle down, before some sprawling, epic guitar work finishes the track in style. The short but convoluted "Shepard's Fold" has some flamenco acoustics and clean vocals as it segues into the far more competent "The Devine Line" which should make guitar aficionados weep with inspired bridges and sweeping structures all wonderfully played and intricately placed. "Call to Arms" and "Burnt offerings" close out the album with technical gusto, with "Burnt Offerings" being a fittingly somber instrumental piece to close the album with a well deserved sigh.

The production is as expected from a tiny startup independent label, so it's a little thin in places and Thorpe could me more commanding, but aside from those minor facts, Aletheian demand your attention with superb musicianship and finite song writing that point the way towards filling Death's shoes.

Oh by the way, if you hadn't grasped from the band name, label name and song titles, Aletheian are a Christian band.

Boo-ya. " Review by ERIC THOMAS -

"Aletheian - 'Dying Vine' 3"

Formerly known as Crutch, Aletheian have existed on the periphery of the Pennsylvania metal scene playing shows constantly and producing competent and consistent recordings to surprisingly little acclaim. Perhaps it is the band's up-front Christianity which keeps the underground metalheads away or maybe the band hasn't positioned themselves in front of the right audiences. Either way both the band and their potential fans are missing out though as Alethian further proves on this second full-length effort that they can rightfully be considered among the elite of American technical and progressive death metal bands. While their previous effort was a solid slab of Death worship, they spread their wings and expand their horizons, producing a complex work of murkily complex metallic darkness on Dying Vine. While the muscular techical virtuosity of mid- to late-period Death is still the primary influence here, the band have made major strides in terms of atmosphere, song-writing, and most important, establishing a more singular identity.

Forsaking any extraneous intro's, the album begins impressively enough, and an extremely solid production job is immediately noted. The album definitely benefits from a very up-front mix and the album has a great deal more punch for it. The sound here is not raw by any stretch of the imagination, but in comparison to other more progressive or technical bands, it sounds positively visceral. When the band themselves really hit their stride on "Out From Shadows" it is stunning to behold. Shifting tempo's flawlessly from monolithic mid-paced crunches to riveting thrash leads, utilizing clean vocals, keys, and baritone guitar with subtle, well-timed genius; Aletheian really make a statement over the course of Dying Vine. Everything really comes together for them here, inspired performances abound and this album is rich with blazing leads, brilliant riffs, flawless transitions and strong diverse vocalizing. Joe Walmer's drumming is especially of note here, he gives his kit such a brutal workout in every song it is very hard for this skeptic to believe that the spirit possessing him is anything close to holy.

Usually when one speaks of a band "running their paces" it is at best indicating a neutral opinion of minimal competence and at worst a derogatory comment on a band's (lack of) effort. I would like to make an exception to that here, and use the phrase as a compliment. As the album builds, Aletheian really open up, utilizing an expansive repetoire of diverse, shifting rhythms, menacingly pulsating dynamics and progressively more epic song-writing. It really seems like the band threw everything they had at this record, and while usually such a lack of restraint results in disaster, here it produces an intimidatingly strong and complete experience.
[John Gnesin] Posted 08/09/05

"Aletheian - 'Dying Vine' 1"

First, they blow listeners away with the unfairly stunning, independent debut, Hope Prevails. Then, they manage to surpass their own insurmountable precedents with the engrossing concept album, Apolutrosis. After cramming more quality into two albums than most bands listlessly drip into the average long-time career, is there any way this Pennsylvania quartet can have more to offer? By some miracle of Metal's muse, Aletheian found it within themselves to create something brilliant enough to match and maybe even outshine their previous work. Dying Vine should be heard as nothing less than a true masterpiece of Metal. Taking no real cues from current trends, Aletheian look back a few years to the dizzying pulses of Meshuggah's Chaosphere for rhythmic foundation before setting their sites on the groundbreaking work of Death on albums like Human and Individual Thought Patterns for composition and riffing influence. They meld this powerhouse combination with a tasteful amount of Prog not unlike Dream Theater to produce Dying Vine, a record clearly worth gushing about.

Thick layers of harmonized guitars introduce the album's opener, "Paragon". What begins as an enrapturing moment of calm amidst a storm of distortion quickly descends into the whirlwind of progressive Death Metal chaos to set the record's tone. Sharply contrasting moods pad out the album's dynamics while guitars grind and wail with unparalleled ferocity and emotion. As if the guitar work on the last two records wasn't impressive enough, these guys somehow found new territory to explore. The drumwork intricately matches, answers, and then reinforces the guitars through adept skill and feeling. The urgency of the message is unequivocal with the impassioned vocal attack that falls perfectly between traditional growls and screams.

Of course, plenty of bands have tons of skill, passion, and interplayability, but few can write songs this well. Out of these nine songs, there is not one that is less than impenetrably solid. Aletheian's intriguing structures and overload of dynamics keep the listener constantly wondering what wonderful idea is coming next. This is one of those records that goes far beyond being a collection of songs to being a true musical experience. With Dying Vine, Aletheian set a new standard for what enthralls.

- Jeremy -

"Crutch - "...hope prevails" 1"

“Crutch is a critically phenomenal metal concoction from Central Pennsylvania. First, you’re greeted by trad-tech metal before Latino melodious guitar jams and scientific thrash right into the sickest of modern metalcore. And we’re only 30 seconds in! …Hope Prevails is the implausibly incredible debut, a debut that flows through eras of metal history like there’s no tomorrow. This is the gem of this issue! From the first listen, anyone with a sense of creativity in their metal blood will be floored by Crutch’s mind-boggling blend of metals. Death seems to be their chief influence, Schuldiner their obvious guitar muse, but the way the songs in general are prearranged, there’s piles of modern metalcore blended throughout, along with insane offtime breakdowns. Mainly, though, it’s pure technological metal, from progressive time signatures and melodic perfection, to lightning-quick riffing and heavier-than-Satan-himself kill segments, to the now ever-present At The Gates influence, these guys cover it all. The production is immaculate for a demo and everything is clocked in at just the right time. If you dig the metallic hardcore thrash of Skycamefalling, the breakdowns and timing of Meshuggah, and the genius of Death all around, this will please you. They’re just too fucking good.” - Metal Maniacs – July 2002 Vol. 19, No.5

"Crutch - "...hope prevails" 2"

" ‘...hope prevails’ is melodic and technical, incorporating time changes and demonstrating a variety of musical influences. Crutch can move from acoustic, classically played guitar to some violent solos and make it work well. At the same time, there is no confusion to this listener. This is brutal, thick, death metal. The truth is, Crutch has their own sound, and it is sick! This is an accomplishment many bands only wish for.”
- Blackscroll E-Zine

"Crutch - "...hope prevails" 3"

“This is not a perfect CD, but it definitely is an amazing CD. There is something about the music on this piece of plastic that makes me think that this band already is an essential part of the future of death metal… The music on this disc is technical and melodic and the song structures are the most interesting I have listened to from a death band in quite a while… As I said; it's not a perfect CD, but it's a CD with creative musical pieces that gives me faith in this band and their ability to expand the somewhat rigid limits for music in this genre. CRUTCH is aiming for the premium league of death metal and they have what it takes to get there…” - Beat the Blizzard E-Zine (Norway)

"Aletheian - "Apolutrosis" 1"

"Aletheian, formerly known as Crutch, are here to change how you feel about concept albums. With Apolutrosis, Aletheian further assert their mastery of progressive Death Metal; they take all of the musicality of Hope Prevails and raise the bar by several thousand degrees. I love it when a band can deliver on the impossible task of outdoing their own masterpiece. Death Metal has been spending some time in ruts lately, but Aletheian are going to shock new life into the genre with compositional brilliance and musical depth like that of the late Chuck Schuldiner. Although no direct comparisons can be made for a band like Aletheian, Apolutrosis is like Individual Thought Patterns-era Death, with a slightly more symphonic approach. The guitar work on this album is nothing less than phenomenal, as Alex Kenis and Donny Swigart create beautiful harmonies and perform solos that are as emotionally moving as they are technically impressive. In fact, the entire album is as gripping to the soul as it is to the mind. It’s never overly self-indulgent, and always incredibly enrapturing. By combining their strong command of expression and composition with exceptional musicianship, Aletheian have set a new standard for progressive Death Metal." -

"Aletheian - "Apolutrosis" 2"

"This American band, who have given themselves the incomprehensible name Aletheian, deliver on ”Apolutrosis” some of the most interesting pieces of music I have heard in a while. The album is like Sarepta`s jar, flowing with milk and honey. You will find almost everything that modern metal has to offer. Added to that, the pre-release sounds really professional. The base of the songs are death metal, and let me add; progressive and intricate technical death metal, which in certain parts show some of the same approach as Extol. Only even more exploring and clean vocal-varied, in addition to the black vocal. The band play well and they succeed with most of what they do on this album, also the mysterious parts which get you thinking about Nile. What else do they have to offer? Well, almost everything from black metal to gregorian song and other fresh, daring and surprising solutions. This is an album which has to be experienced. Even the hardcore-people get their crash-riffs. The music changes its expression all the time, but rests in some calm parts. The band seems a little drowsy in these parts, and the progrock sounding parts are dragged out a bit too much, before new musical faces appear." - Norwegian SCREAM Magazine - Nov. 2003

"Aletheian - "Apolutrosis" 3"

"A band from Pennsylvania by the name of Crutch released a CD called ". . . Hope Prevails" in 2001 on small independent label Burning Records. It was a decent metal album with roots in death and even black metal. A couple of years after releasing this disc, the band went through some changes, acquiring some new members and making the decision to be a touring band. As a result, the band opted to change their name to Aletheian (meaning "truth" in Greek). With this change came a fresher, more progressive direction which, in this reviewer's opinion, is a change for the better. Apolutrosis (which is Greek for "deliverance" or "redemption") is separated into five compositions, three of which are composed of two movements each. This arrangement combined with the unique names of the songs (Exaleiphen, Splagchna) as well as the album itself set me up expecting a progressive, power, or doom metal CD. Though these elements are evident throughout many of the songs, this album is much more than any one of those styles.

The first song, Hamartia (Greek for "to miss the mark", "to err", essentially to sin), is composed of two movements. Exordium, the first of these, opens up with samples from several different languages, which get layered as the track progresses with an apocalyptic flute solo, choir, keyboard, string section, and intermittent blast beats. The song then segues into Movement II. Imagine throwing Extol, Believer, Underoath and Veni Domine into a pressure cooker. One possible result of that combination might be this movement. This song is incredible, featuring a myriad mixture of clean, death, and black metal vocals, doomy to even progressive metal sections, and lots of stylistic and timing changes throughout. The playing is top notch, and the listener is never quite sure where the song will progress to next.

Tracks 3 and 4 make up Exaleiphein (meaning "to blot out or wipe clean"), the second composition on the CD. Track 3, which is the first movement of two, features conversing voices whispering in the background to the tune of violins and a choir, overlaid with a spoken word death growl. The track has a very somber tone and serves as a nice intro for the more progressive black metal sound of Movement II. Movement II, like Movement II of Hamartia, very nicely mixes progressive black metal not unlike recent Extol, clean vocals and doomy parts reminiscent of Veni Domine, and faster blastbeats intermixed with power metal riffing.

Splagchna ("the nobler viscera" - the heart, lungs, and bowels, used in the Bible to speak of the Lord's compassion) is a cool instrumental that might have sounded right at home on Schaliach's brilliant Sonrise CD with its layering of classically influenced moving parts over an acoustic guitar. Xenos (Greek for "stranger" or "new, unheard of"), the last two-part composition on the CD, is a wonderful blend of symphonic European black metal mixed with piano parts, clean vocals which harmonize with the black metal vocals, more epic classic doom sections, and progressive death metal. Some parts are slow and somber, reminding a bit of Antestor at times, as well as more symphonic bands like Crimson Moonlight. The fade into a choir at the end serves as a nice finish for what may be the most technically complex composition on the entire disc.

Benediction, the last song, is actually this reviewer's favorite. It starts with a classical medieval solo that sounds like a harpsichord. Layer upon layer of guitar solo harmonization and even an organ is added. It then breaks down into a very cool mid-paced black metal song with lots of moving parts. The song then ends with more of the classical influences with which it began.

This CD stayed in this reviewer's player for 2 days straight at one point. The more I listened to it, the more it grew on me. If you like your metal extreme and fast with little regard for technicality, you probably won't like this CD. If you hate extreme metal to intermix strings, piano and clean vocals, then this isn't for you. But if you like your music not to follow a predictable formula, and you are a fan of the various musical styles mentioned throughout this review, or if you just like to hear something different from the norm, then you should check this CD out. The production is quite good, the instruments are played with technical precision and prowess, the songs are highly creative and extremely enjoyable to listen to, and the last song left me eager for more. I would highly recommend this disc and sincerely hope that this isn't all Aletheian has to offer." -


Aletheian - 'Dying Vine' Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Studio Insomnia. Released in 6/05 by Hope Prevails Productions.

Aletheian - "Apolutrosis" Full-length Concept album, pre-release made available independently in 2003. Re-mixed and re-mastered for full-release in 2004 on Hope Prevails Productions.

Crutch - "...hope prevails" Full-length released independently in 2001, Re-released on Burning Records in 2002. Partially re-recorded, re-mixed, re-mastered, and re-released with updated artwork and the name "Aletheian", in 2004 on Hope Prevails Productions.

Aletheian Live DVD - 2+ hours of Edited Live concert footage, Concept Music video, Behind the scenes recording documentary, etc...

10/20 Underground Rock Show - DVD video compilation - 2004. Aletheian has two songs ("Break in the Clouds" and "Exaleipheian") recorded live in Ohio for this Spindust Records DVD compilation video. Filmed, recorded, edited, and mastered by Offcenter studios, released on Spindust records.

'Break in the Clouds' from "...hope prevails" available for download from

'Exaleipheian' from "Apolutrosis" available for download from,, and



ALETHEIAN is a central Pennsylvania based metal band, formerly know as CRUTCH. Aletheian is the greek word for "truth", and the band bears with them a message of Hope.

CRUTCH was founded in 1997 and became ALETHEIAN in 2003. The name change came when CRUTCH underwent a major transformation acquiring two new members, and made the decision to take the band to the touring level for the first time.

The style and material of the band has not changed with the name. Combining elements of technical, progressive, European, and melodic metal; ALETHEIAN hopes to bring a fresh sound and a positive message to a dark, dry scene.

ALETHEIAN has played festivals such as March Metal Meltdown, MACRoCk, Sick as Sin, Metal Mindrage, Icthus, and Cornerstone Festival as well as with bands such as Cephalic Carnage, Biohazard, Buried Alive, Antithesis, Withered Earth, Disgorge, Zao, Living Sacrifice, Tantrum of the Muse, Underoath, and many others.

Influences included: Death, Cynic, Carcass, Emperor, Extol, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Meshuggah, At the Gates, etc...