The four vocalists, Dennis, Shawn, Patrick and Shane trade off vocals. In the two albums before Adam left Alesana, he provided additional guitar and would often harmonize with Shawn. When the song requires an electric set, the band has three guitarists and tends to have dual guitar riffs, or use one lead guitar, while the other(s) play chords and octaves. Their acoustic songs consist of Shawn playing the piano and singing, he is often joined with his sister Melissa Milke who also adds vocals to their electric songs. The lyrics, written by Pat and Shawn, are written cooperatively and find their influence in literature. On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax frequently makes allusions to Greek mythology, Where Myth Fades to Legend twists the plots of several tales of the Brothers Grimm, and The Emptiness is one constant story created by the two main vocalists.
Although the band's members first began playing together in Baltimore, Maryland, the band officially formed in October 2004 in Raleigh, North Carolina by Shawn Milke, Patrick Thompson, Dennis Lee, Steven Tomany and Daniel Magnuson. The name of the band is derived from Alice-anna St., which Shawn Milke and Patrick Thompson lived on when playing in Baltimore, MD. Alice-anna St. is located in Fells Point, a neighborhood in Baltimore. Alesana was the first band to join Tragic Hero Records in 2005, and their 3 demo songs titled "Apology", "Beautiful in Blue" and "Goodbye, Goodnight for Good" which were featured on a compilation All The Tragedy Money Can't Buy. Later they released their debut EP, Try This With Your Eyes Closed, in May of that year. They toured in the United States, including an appearance at the Cornerstone Festival. In the same year Daniel Magnuson was replaced by Will Anderson.
In 2006 they added a new drummer Jeremy Bryan to replace Will Anderson and added guitarist/vocalist Adam Ferguson to their lineup. They followed with a full-length album, entitled On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, in the summer of 2006. Many of the songs on the album take inspiration from Greek mythology, for example: "Ambrosia" is based on the story of king Midas and the Golden Touch along with his sufferings on living his life with his curse, and "The Third Temptation of Paris" is based upon the Trojan War,. In late 2006, they signed on to Fearless Records, which re-released their LP in March 2007 to mixed reviews and released a music video for "Ambrosia". In the same year, the song "Apology" in an acoustic version was featured on Punk Goes Acoustic 2. Later in the middle of the year, Steven Tomany left the band and was replaced by Shane Crump who had previously played bass for Your Name In Vain. They also played at the entire Warped Tour 2007. In early 2008, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax charted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, peaking at #44.
In 2008 Alesana finished recording their newest album, "Where Myth Fades to Legend". The album was released on June 3, 2008 but was leaked on popular torrent sites on May 25. Where Myth Fades To Legend is also the title of their headlining tour with Sky Eats Airplane, Our Last Night, Lovehatehero, and The Chariot. Shane Crump was recently revealed in the intro to Alesana's 4th video blog on purevolume to be a vocalist on the new album. All the female vocals done on the band's albums are done by guitarist Shawn Milke's sister, Melissa. Alesana is touring as of November, and will head to the eastern United States, which includes shows in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania with A Static Lullaby, Greeley Estates, Jamies Elsewhere, and many more.
As with their previous album, the majority of the songs are related to fables and the members’ “Favorite Stories” compiled from The Brother’s Grimm. Except for “As You Wish”, that is based on the story The Princess Bride. The song “All Night Dance Parties In The Underground Palace” is partly based on the story "The Worn Out Dancing Shoes." The album was produced by Steve Evetts and recorded in Los Angeles, California. The song “Seduction” is said to be the first single from Where Myth Fades To Legend, as well as the music video, which was recorded late summer ‘08. The track “A Most Profound Quiet” has been released on their MySpace page. The Single “Seduction” was leaked onto the internet with the title “Subscription” on the Warped Tour 2008 compilation. According to guitarist/vocalist Shawn Milke, “This is Usually the Part Where People Scream” is influenced by the television show Heroes. “Obsession is Such an Ugly Word” features vocals from the entire band.
On the 2008 Warped Tour, Shane Crump briefly due to personal matters at home and Jake Campbell (Twelve Gauge Valentine guitarist) became a temporary fill in bassist. Upon Shane's return, Adam and the band parted ways and Jake is now the permanent rhythm guitarist.
In 2009 they have also been named along with Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains and The Bloodhound Gang to tour Australia with the Soundwave 2009 festival and also this spring Alesana toured with Drop Dead Gorgeous, Fear Before, I Set My Friends On Fire, and Fall From Grace on the World of Tourcraft tour
On January 20, 2009 the music video for "Seduction" was officially released and on March 10, 2009 the album Punk Goes Pop 2 was released which includes Alesana's cover of "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake.
Alesana's Where Myth Fades To Legend has also charted on the Billboard 200 at #96 and on the Billboard Hard Rock Album at #13.
In late February, Shawn Milke announced Alesana had started writing new material for their upcoming album. They began recording their third studio album, in July 2009, in Portland, Oregon, with producer Kris Crummett (Emarosa and DGD). The album, according to Shawn Milke on The Rave TV, will be entitled, "The Emptiness". The title "The Emptiness" has also been confirmed in a blog on the band's MySpace page. The band has made their progress in the studio viewable to fans through a Twitter account and an official website run by the band themselves. In mid July, Alesana had their MySpace page edited by Justin Reich with pictures that according to Shawn, hint towards themes in the concept album; the photos show the band in fine suits holding bloody weapons inside an abandoned room, and a newspaper article with a headline "Alesana Unveils New Story This Winter."
It has also been mentioned that the album's setting is at the turn of the 20th century. The Twitter account updates reveal that Melissa Milke and Adam Fisher of Fear Before have contributed vocals to the album, and that Shawn Milke appeared as a guest on metalcore band Asking Alexandria's debut album, in the song "Hey There Mr. Brooks".
Shawn Milke declared on August 19 via Twitter,
“ It is 6:19 AM and I just finished my last scream...the record is finished..."The Emptiness" is complete...xo shawn ”
concluding the band's recording session, which began on July 10. Alesana then set out for North Carolina to rest before they began their Vs. tour, which they are currently headlining and performing with bands The Bled, Enter Shikari, Broadway, Madina Lake, and Asking Alexandria. On the Vs. tour, Alesana's set included 2 new songs titled "To Be Scared By An Owl" and "The Thespian". Soon after concluding their month long Vs. tour, Alesana headlined the "You'd Be Way Cuter In A Coffin" Tour with From First To Last, The Word Alive, Asking Alexandria, and Memphis May Fire.
On October 2, Shawn and Dennis held a second interview with TheRave.tv where they revealed that they were shooting a music video in the fall for one song off of their new CD. The two screamers went on to tell Linda, the interviewer, that due to their large fan base in Mexico and South America, they would be releasing a Spanish version of 2 of their songs. Shawn also revealed that the album, The Emptiness, is to be released on January 26, 2010. The band finally released the track listing and cover art to the new album on November 10 on their myspace blog On November 23, Alesana released their first recorded work off of The Emptiness, "To Be Scared By An Owl" and began to promote it as a single. The same week, they entered the studio to begin filming their third video which according to AlesanaOfficial.com, is "The Thespian", the song was released on December 8th, 2009.
In the spring of next year, Alesana will tour the U.S. with A Skylit Drive, The Word Alive, Of Mice & Men, and We Came As Romans.