London-based metallers Amulet exploded onto the scene in the early part of this decade, releasing an album on Century Media that seemed to herald the start of something quite significant and then… silence.
Of course silence is not a natural state for a heavy metal band, so it’s good to be able to tell you that the band are back with a new lineup and a new home at Dissonance, where perhaps the band will be able to flourish without the pressures of ‘major label’ finagling. Unfortunately the press release accompanying new release The Inevitable War promises a sound that mixes Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar and eighties-era Black Sabbath – nigh on impossible with the budget disposable to the band, surely – but notwithstanding unreasonable PR waffle the band turn in an assured performance that places them perhaps more reasonably, in the same theatre of operations as labelmates Neuronspoiler, fellow Brit metal revivalists Monument and, on the raw and unfettered Shockwave, Geordie metal veterans Satan.
Burning Hammer does have a bit of Priest about it – the hit-single chasing Priest of the late seventies and early eighties – but for the most part Amulet deal in no-frills, unalloyed Brit metal, aided by a neat production that keeps everything punchy and bright, pushing the vocals of new addition Federico Mace Mazza to the fore on the Homeric Call of the Siren in pleasing fashion without compromising on instrumental heft.
Siege Machine is pure NWoBHM-inspired pomposity, guitarists Marek Heathen Steven and Nippy Blackford locking together with bassist Sam Mackertich in a you-know-who-aping gallop that won’t fail to get the blood pumping, whilst following track Gateway to Hell goes back to Priest for it’s inspiration. However perhaps the best track is closing two part epic Roundhead, where everything comes together best; the band spread their wings here, utilising every dramatic metal storytelling trick in the book to create a rollicking civil war saga that really points to the untamed potential to be found within the Amulet ranks. Mazza wails away in best Dickenson fashion, and some of the soloing, especially towards the end of the first part of the track, is truly inspired and certainly fit to be mentioned in the same breath as the old Gods of British metal. The band sound truly at home in this milieu, and if they can consistently attain this level in future works then I for one am truly excited about what the future holds for the band. Don’t leave it so long before the next album please!
The Inevitable War will be released by Dissonance Productions on May 17th.