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Album Reviews : Amelus – Amelus (Demo)

By on June 17, 2014

When it comes to bands, first impressions matter and a good demo is a significant part of making that first impression. Now, let’s get something straight here, I love metal and being able to support the local scene by writing reviews is something of a dream come true for me; with that said, I take no pleasure in tearing down a young band endeavoring to fulfill a passion. Alas, with Amelus’ demo (titled Amelus Demo, imagine that!), I feel that I must be cruel to be kind.

This is a good age to be a musician, when you think about it. There is no shortage of open source programs, cheaply available (or free, if you’re an enterprising sort) to record, and even do some rudimentary mixing for, your music, or forums in which to discuss effective methods of recording; this demo, however, does not sound as if much effort was put into its recording. I have heard Two Member Black Metal projects, recorded on Cassette Tape, with more clarity and passion than this demo, and it is a shame since this is still a very new band. I’m not trying to be malicious or reticent here, but this is a poor demo, put together with, what feels like, no effort or enthusiasm. The guitar tone is a mess, the kick work for the drums is sloppy and uncoordinated, so to the overall cohesion of rhythm which just sounds drudging and meager, there is no melody, the riffs are feeble, and the composition leaves a lot to be desired; and above all, there is no energy behind it. In the very least the vocals and the instrument levels aren’t inept, but that is, unfortunately, the best of a poor bunch.

As this is a demo, it gives me the opportunity to go over the tracks individually, to separate the Pros and Cons.

First Track: Charred. Beginning with a chaotic, discordant roar, you can definitely hear what Amelus are aiming for; unfortunately this is all undone by clumsy drumming and droning guitars, which feel out of synch with one another. There is no cohesion, and while there is a potentially good groove to the track, there is no connection or organization between the instruments, which makes for bad composition.

Which brings us to the second track: Crypt of The Amelus. The weakest of the three tracks available on the demo, Amelus attempts (and I mean that in huge italicized quotation marks) to open up with a halting, dissonant jaunt to the track, but this is also undone by deficient drum work. At around the 22 second mark, a strange, wildly out of place Wah-ing noise comes in and disappears just as quickly, leaving me to wonder just what the band was trying to do here. There is some venture towards competency for the guitars here, but that falls tragically short, with a weak, meandering flow to the notes in an anemic show of technicality. The vocals, however, do have a gruff and insistent showing here, and it is, by far, the stand out for the song.

Finally, we have the third track: Fathers from The Dead, and with the heavy, almost doleful, drag of the intro, it is the track that shows the most promise on the demo (if you can forgive the skips in rhythm). However, this too is short lived when, around the 1:05 mark the song is derailed by a scratchy, white-noisy hiss that seems like a childish effort to unnerve or add pathos; and whilst the song tries to right itself, it is knocked further off track at the 1:30 mark by more diffusion to the instrumentation.

Over all, Amelus Demo, is a poor showing and a middling first impression. I imagine that this style of metal has its admirers (and fanbase no doubt as rabid as other styles) but there is nothing here, in this first impression, that makes Amelus stand out, nothing to grab your attention and certainly nothing that gets you invested in the music; even for a stalwart enthusiast of bands the likes of Cannibal Corpse, you will find yourself wanting with this demo. There is a complete lack of energy or aggression here; it almost seems like a parody at times, like what your grandparents think metal sounds like, or the angry dude at the pub saying he can beat you up because he listens to Slayer. It is posturing, but with none of the actual bravado to back it up. However, if Amelus took some time to mature, hone their craft and put effort into their writing and recording, then the potential that is on meek display here might just be given the audience it desires. The first step is always the hardest, this I recognize and know first-hand, but I would be doing any band a disservice if I did not say what I truly thought about their work, be it demo or not.

Band: Amelus
Album: S/T
Year: 2013
Genre: Death metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Geelong, VIC

Track list:
1. Charred
2. Crypt of the Amelus
3. Fathers From The Dead

About

Hailing from parts unknown (actually, it’s Melbourne), Tristan is a freelance writer and lover of metal, with a special place in his heart for Power and Folk metal. After playing in a number of local Melbourne metal bands, and completing his Bachelor of Arts, Tristan focuses his attention to the pursuit of writing, practicing the Liechtenauer School of swordsmanship, dabbling in Cosplay and reciting Babylon 5 quotes; in addition to hunting for a publisher for his novel. Until then, he enjoys metal, writing about metal and convincing people around his office that he is immortal and has lived for 3,000 years. (So far only the chick in HR is buying it)