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Album Reviews : Amarna Reign- Atonement

By on October 20, 2010

Atonement is the 2009 EP release by American metalcore act Amarna Reign, and despite having a truly vicious lead vocalist the release suffers from a chronic lack of creativity and, more obviously, some truly terrible clean vocals courtesy of bassist Matt Knuteson. If stock standard metalcore is your sort of thing then the EP’s constant chugging riffs and slamming breakdowns are likely to keep you interested for the 30-odd minutes of its duration. Indeed, there are some fun riffs to be found, the problem is they are recycled endlessly across the seven tracks and are really nothing that has not been seen in other similar bands before. However, even the metalcore fans may be put off by the punk/emo whining-style vocals that feature heavily on the release. What is most disappointing about this is that these vocals are stealing the limelight from lead vocalist Brad Kilburn whose ferocious roars and growls are easily the highlight of the album.

The first minute or two of the release is deceptively cool- but unfortunately is not representative of the rest of the EP. The intro to opener “Deceiver” showcases a chugging rhythm section overlayed by some quirky lead work that is quite attention grabbing. Shortly after this the thunderous bellow of Kilburn explodes into focus, providing the listener with a minute or so of bone crushing vocals over frenzied riff work. Sadly it is here that the album peaks and it plummets rapidly. Once we hit the chorus we are assaulted by punk style riffing and awful whining vocals which come and go a few times and continue to permeate the rest of the release. This trend continues for the EP’s entirety- heavy chugging riffs give way to snooze-worthy punk lines and Kilburn’s furious roar continues to impress but is constantly giving way to several minutes of whine. Normally I will commend a band for attempting to vary the vocals on a release as much as is possible, but when you have such a good lead vocalist and such a terrible clean vocalist giving them a 50-50 split in performance time is a very bad idea.

At the end of the day, the overall lack of ingenuity in the release and the terrible singing style manage to outweigh any positives the EP does have. A few tracks have some cool lead lines, typical of some of the better bands of this genre, and even a clean guitar into to “Letting Go”. The production on the release is done very well, providing a very thick atmospheric background to many of the songs and some electronic effects to accompany some of the breakdowns. However cool these little things may be they are not enough to pull Atonement through. Fans of bands like The Devil Wears Prada or possibly even early As I Lay Dying may want to give this a look, but all others would want to steer well clear. 3.5/10

Band: Amarna Reign
Album: Atonement (EP)
Year: 2009
Genre: metalcore
Origin: Indiana, USA
Label: Stomp

Track Listing:
1. Deceiver   <– Reviewer’s Choice
2.       The Fall
3.       Into the Sky
4.       Letting Go
5.       For Too Long
6.       The Fight (Isn’t Over)
7.       The Ascent


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.