Monday, April 15, 2013

Amiensus- "Restoration" (Self-Released)

Today we're going to examine the first full-length album from Minnesotan symphonic black metal group Amiensus. "Restoration" is currently only available as a digital download, but it's already got my attention in a serious way. If you're into well-produced, intricate black metal with equal parts majesty and malice, you're reading the right review. Somehow this group of musicians, many of whom are full-time students, managed to wrangle in Ken Sorceron from Abigail Williams to mix and master this beast. I'm guessing it's because he noticed just how great these guys are at writing compelling and melodic tunes.

Like the recently reviewed Autolatry, I feel there's a unique sense of technicality and precision to Amiensus's brand of music. Rather than simply falling into one set of sounds, there are elements from many styles within the greater "extreme metal" umbrella that are so well integrated that the song have an organic yet impossible to describe feeling. I could list bullet points of many reputable artists whom I'm sure Amiensus listens to and enjoys, but it still wouldn't quite do the final product justice. Many of the songs' choruses tend to be mid-paced with layered clean vocals and complementary guitar and keyboard lines following beneath, but that's about the only constant here. While the keys pretty much stay in the "symphonic black metal" territory, it works well enough to prevent me from criticizing it in any way. The songs range from contemplative to balls-out aggressive, which is good. I find that albums like this can tend to buckle under their own weight, yet I don't find myself feeling impatient halfway through. Instead, the band place little surprises throughout that keep me rather content, like the pensive and dark "I Am." Also, it's a small thing, but I'm giving these guys big points for enunciation. I can understand almost every lyric here, and that's pretty awesome. While I don't feel this album has reinvented metal (nor do I really expect any band to do that anyway), I can definitely say it's got enough variety and character to convince me that Amiensus is worth watching.

"Restoration" can be found on Amiensus' bandcamp page for a measly five bucks. They're also currently recording a full-length as well as a split EP with the highly talented Oak Pantheon, which should be monstrous if this album is any indication. Keep an eye on these guys, I expect them to get some serious attention in the near future.

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