MetalBite Review by Chris on 3/4/2004
Since I've never heard their debut "A World Depraved,"
I took a peek at the press notes first to find Amaran
described as a mix of In Flames
and The Gathering
. I thought this might be quite interesting depending on what period of musical influences they took from the aforementioned bands.
First thing that struck me right off the bat was the thrash/death style of their music. It has a heavy and crisp sound and galloping guitars; it all reminded me of Arch Enemy
but what surprised me the most was the beautiful, mid-range voice of Johanna DePierre. I can agree on some similarities to Anneke Van Giersbergen (The Gathering
) but I found the vocals of Johanna DePierre being more of a blend of Anneke and Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil
. And while clean female vocals are not a novelty in metal world anymore, done over aggressive music rather than a gothic doom style, at first sounded quite original and exciting. Why at first? After dozen of spins I actually found Amaran
putting too much emphasis on her vocals. The tracks that shined the most are the fastest and most aggressive ones where harsh music creates a perfect contrast to her amazing voice (the fantastic 'Atropine'
and 'Coming Home'
, or 'Katharsis'
mixed with male growls or the guitar-rich 'Wraith'
) but where tempo takes a step back and the rest of the band seems to just fill the voids she just shouldn't carry the load by herself such as on 'Inflict,'
or 'Crow Me'
While those few setbacks throughout the whole album took away some of the initial appeal I'd mark their second effort as a very attractive release and worth checking out by melodic thrash metal fans, but there's no doubt in my mind that the best is yet to come for Amaran
. The talent that has already shown itself on most of the "Pristine in Bondage"
compositions only assures me that finding a perfect balance is just a matter of time. I'll be looking forward to their progress.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10