Fresh from the Greek fire, these young post-metallers’ offer up their raw debut long-player, Infinite, with arguably their weakest track smack-bang in the shop window. Naturally, being the metal detectorists we are, we weren’t deterred by such a foul odour and delved deeper to discover something far more appealing within. Indeed, here lies metal that dabbles in dark places, moulding the triple-threat of doom, black and sludge together to form a subversive, gnarled ball of bellicosity.
That opening track, ‘And The Others Just Survive’, is all about the vocals and their relationship to the guitars. The whole comes at you in waves which only highlights the paucity in production values. The guitars work as a sludgy, dissonant series of chugs and twinkling top line, but the vocals aren’t quite so full. In fact, they are agonizingly short on body, leaving them sounding thin, weedy and loose in comparison to the string and drum thunder that surround them. Vocalist Upsetter has the gargled roars down pat but instead of sounding like the voice of the Devil he comes across like a bag of nails being hit against a hollow wall. Dwell ye not on this – it’s a failing that can be addressed in the studio next time around.
Where Amniac excel is in the way they rather craftily employ the vocal as an extra instrument, using it only in context. When extra power is needed, Upsetter steps up to the mic and fires out penetrative lyrics in sentences, repeating them mantra-like in clipped cycles. They aren’t restricted by genre either, sourcing several different tones and styles to complement each theme. In places like ‘Rise Like The Suns‘ they take on the dark instrumental overtones of Russian Circles, creating melancholic strands that feed into euphoric gutsy grooves that are more reminiscent of early Baroness. The hammering vehemence and frugal vocal parts of ‘The Infinite‘ play on elements of Secrets Of The Sky‘s delivery whilst ‘A System Waiting To Fail’ and ‘Our Kind The Plague’ grip like Steak Number Eight’s finest pieces. These pound out the same riffs again and again to leave a ditch. ‘A System…‘, in particular, features a notable Nirvana-esque on-beat vocal technique with a mesmeric accompanying section of rhythmic, monotone, juddering chugs that build to a hellish crescendo.
Time and again the clever song construction collapses and rebuilds itself yet somehow retains an organic flow. The music has a solid sense of direction too, one that inexorably pulls you in. It may not be the most sophisticated post-metal you’ve ever come across but it sure is exhilarating. Certainly, techniques need to be honed, production tightened and marketing savvy acquired but, even in their current form, you can sense their keen, flaming eyes igniting the path to your soul. No surprise – Amniac is, after all, just a dyslexic maniac.
Amniac – Infinite gets…