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Friday, 2 January 2015

Reviews: Amulet, State Urge, Renegade

So a round up of the last reviews of 2014 with two late releases and one released earlier in the year

Amulet: The First (Century Media)

Amulet are an English metal band that are so deep in NWOBHM that you'd think the last thirty odd years never happened. With an album split into two sides with every song full of rumbling bass, dual guitar attack, metronomic drumming and helium vocals. The songs don't relent from the first chords of Evil Cathedral, through the stomp of Bloody Nights and into the two instrumental tracks and beyond this is an album that is straight out of 1980's encompassing all the sounds of that come with it. The 13 songs on this album are dirty, sleazy, leather clad metal with the same occult lyricism that perennial black magic purveyors Angel Witch have always peddled with nods to Priest and of course Maiden. Amulet are one band in very wide genre and they can stand up to the Swedes in terms stylistic authenticity there is very little else I can say about this album other than if you like music that harks back tot he glory days of British metal then you will love Amulet. 7/10     

State Urge: Confrontation (Self Released)

Polish band State Urge make music that is steeped in classic rock style but it is also both technical and progressive without being pretentious. The claim their genre is 'White Rock' but what it actually is, is a mixture of sounds that is organ drenched 70's prog mixed with jazz and a some hard rock thrown in for good measure the first two tracks merge together into one cohesive song, with the second part Revival being mostly an instrumental piece that lets the band show off their musical chops. Despite the overarching progginess of it all the songs do not outstay their welcome with only three songs coming in at over 6 minutes long but most of them never seem like they are long pieces as the music keeps you interested as it moves through all manner of moods and indeed types of music with nods to Steven Wilson, Pink Floyd (Cold As A Lie) as well as 70's occult on Midnight Mistress which features some great organ and bells from Michał Tarkowski, the rest of the band too are all very talented musicians with the rhythm section of Krystian Papiernik's bass and Marcin Bocheński's drums providing the corner stone on which all of the songs are build finally rounding out the band is Marcin Cieślik who provides the soaring guitars and also the soulful vocals. If I'm honest Midnight Mistress is one of the weaker songs on the album but is perfectly positioned in the middle of album and ends very well before transitioning into the folk balladry of New Season and the fuzzing space rock of Before The Dawn before the album ends in strongly with the slow burning More. This is State Urges second album and it is one that will hopefully bring them to the attention of many more people, pure progressive bliss. 9/10

Renegade: Thunder Knows No Mercy (Pure Underground Records)

With so many power metal bands coming from Germany and Sweden its sometimes easy to forget that Italy have a rich power metal history and Renegade are part of that history having been around since about 2006. The excellently titled Thunder Knows No Mercy is their fifth album and unsurprisingly it follows in the same no compromise style of thunderous (sorry) heavy metal, With The World Is Dying leading the charge as the vocals hit highs only dogs can here. There is no room for emotion here with all the songs a fast metallic battering or a mid paced chug that echoes the Germanic style metal that Accept and Helloween have been playing since the 80's, they even have song called Screaming On The Eagle for God sake!! The only slowish song is Trail Of Tears but even that rocks up in the right places. There is no getting away from it Renegade are aping the Teutonic metal genre for all it's worth but they are a fun addition to any heavy/power metal fans collection and it proves the thunder indeed knows no mercy but also power metal has no shame. 7/10   

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