Tuesday 20 January 2015

Amniac - Infinite (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 12/6/2014
Label: Bandcamp

‘Infinite’ DD track listing:

1). And the Others Just Survive
2). Ignorants
3). Rise Like the Suns
4). Discerning
5). The Infinite
6). A System Waiting to Fail
7). Our Kind, the Plague

Amniac is:

Dimitri | Bass
Tsaros | Drums
Antony | Guitars
Upsetter | Vocals, Guitars

Review There is something boldly cinematic in 'Infinite's' construction. Its musical plot line plays out, unravels even, before your very ears like a Hollywood script. The difference is, this isn't a star studded, lavishly collated cast; this is an independent film rich in stand out performances to help these actors establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with, within the wider scene.

The actors in question? Amniac: A Greek post-sludge metal band from Piraeus, Greece. Now approaching their fifth year as a band - they were formed in October 2010 – ‘Infinite’ is a bold statement of intent. Their first full length record, having now found a solid line-up, this is a record held together by powerful juxtapositions - atmospheric and clean guitars, the quiet in-between moments of storming, crunching sludge riffs and roared, veneering vocals. While the first few songs may for some come out of the blocks at a slow pace, as the album progresses, certain plot twists drag you deeper into their mercurial noise.  'Ignorants', a short instrumental number raises the hairs on the back of your neck with discordant guitars enveloped in agitation before a funeral march, interloping betwixt Gojira fashioned tapping that is slow, brooding and charming all the same. You soon find yourself learning to understand and empathise with the characters; you raise or fall - depending on your own twisted countenance - to their wavelength, being more and more convinced of their prowess with every change of mood and riff.  

Openly influenced by the likes of Isis and Neurosis, the post-metal breeze that blows through their lurid landscape injects a chilling coldness to their sound, tailor made for us darkness loving scribes and readers here at The Sludgelord.

Though, it could be said that more variety could be infused within their two wildly opposing facets. Yes, when it gets loud it gets very loud indeed, and when the dynamics whisper they do so as if in a library ran by the strictest, most shrill of librarians. But all the while they can sound the same as the sections which they are succeeding. That is why certain acts delivered by guitarist Antony are so important in keeping Infinite's flame burning brightly. In ‘Rise like Star’s he emerges from the murky swamp sound in which they establish with unashamedly Gojira styled playing. It sees the band burst into life, breaking from the perhaps too linear mold they were falling into at the start of the song. It's moments like these - these Oscar winning performances if you will - that help transform the record from average to more promising and worth many a re-visit. 

‘The Infinite’ builds, once more cinematically, as a dramatic action scene lurks in the immediate future. The two guitars are here utilised for different mood-setting purposes, they overlap to sew a horrifying - in the best possible way - tapestry. Then, when they occasionally stand together to unleash a battering ram of a riff, it all comes together with a stark bombast.

As I said, their script becomes more and more convincing as the story unfolds and it is at about this point that you get properly excited for this album.  The last two acts - 'A System Waiting to Fail' and 'Our Kind, the Plague' - see out the record in a whirl of ambient smoke. The prior opens with a mammoth riff, snarling as it does, while the latter cranks up for an emotive finale that is almost symphonic in its densely layered and menacing structure.

There are many bands out there who fail to hold a listener for a full album. Whether this is a lack of diversity, cohesion, continuity or skill differs with every artist, but here Amniac keep you clamped to your set. At times the production may be lacking a little polish, the guitars occasionally drifting into tinny, trebly territory but otherwise this is a marvelous debut album for the Greeks. Time, I'm sure, will be kind to them. I very much look forward to what their next feature length brings.

Words: Phil Weller

You can pick up a copy here.

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