Not to be confused with Altered Sky who are from north of the border, Alter the Sky are a five-piece female-fronted band from Cambridge with a male drummer. This makes all the difference! OK, in fairness, barring the number in the band and the closeness of name, there’s not a lot much else that the groups have in common.
Several of the members used to be in other bands from the Cambridge area and have a fair bit of experience playing some pretty impressive support slots as well. However, they combined in mid-2015 to form Alter The Sky who have recently released a self-titled 6-track EP. So… what’s it like?
Alter the Sky label themselves as “hard rock” and the simple, churning riffs very much entrench them in this camp. Solid work from guitarists Gal Herrington and Kev Baker without going too “widdly” keeps the music nice and simple yet catchy. The rhythm section of Matt Scott on bass and Matthias Eidger on drums keep things ticking over. Eidger in particular doesn’t go overboard like some drummers – he’s there the keep everyone in sync and doesn’t showboat, solid and reliable.
Vocals are courtesy of Kirsten Roche who has a great female rock voice. I found her voice on the first track “You Don’t Know Me” a little thin, being beaten back by the instruments but no such problems on the other songs. Maybe just the mix. Without a doubt she can sing, though! There’s venom and emotion in there in all the required quantities.
The songs are varied enough to hold your interest without veering too far away from Alter The Sky’s obvious influences. Of the six on offer, the first to really catch my ear was the third – “Bring Us Down”. It employs a couple of little tricks (altered vocals at the start, a breakdown partway through) that really mixed things up a little and pulled me into the track a little more. Roche’s vocal range on it is top notch as well with a chance to really scream the words out.
“Using You, Using Me”‘s chorus is amongst the best on the EP. Simple and the kind of thing a crowd can really get behind and yell back at the band. There are plenty of gaps in the song for Roche to engage with an audience and a great little guitar solo as well. This, I feel, is the song for showing the band off when they’re on stage.
The fifth track, “Suffer in Silence”, is a little softer than the others. Still hard rock, but the closest thing to a ballad on here… though not all that balladic! You’d need to listen to it to get my meaning. The soaring chorus nails it, accompanied by the southern rock riffs.
The EP is available for free streaming and download via ReverbNation so you’ve no excuse not to give it a listen. I’ve even made it easier by embedding it below. That’s how nice I am to you.