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|Amok - Somewhere In The West (2013) Album Review|| |
Amok - Somewhere In The West (2013)
Witches Brew -- Running Time 52:06
I've always enjoyed regularly seeking out new bands and music but that practice has pretty much become a full time job now that I write and review! Considering I have a huge love of Thrash something tells me that I really should have picked up on Scottish band Amok before now and I'm a bit annoyed with myself that I haven't, they have, after all, been around since 2004!
Upon reading the Press Release though I think I've discovered why! Between 2004-2008 they self-released five demos and a debut album 'Downhill Without Breaks' and due to positive reviews and feedback German label Witches Brew signed them up and re-released the debut to a wider audience. This is all great stuff but there has been silence for five years now and in this fickle business that is an extremely long time. An X Factor winner could have released three auto tuned albums, 'written' two autobiographies, had four kids with different partners and three messy divorces, made and lost their money and be back working at McDonalds in that time (whilst monster Simon Cowell rubs his sweaty, grubby palms together all the way to the bank).
I'm not sure what caused the extended break but they are back with sophomore album 'Somewhere In The West' and if you like Testament and Anthrax with bits of Exodus, Slayer and Annihilator thrown in for good measure, and I do, then you are going to love Amok or 'Testathrax' as I have lovingly started to call them!
In all seriousness though this is a damn fine Thrash album and while the aforementioned influences are clear in Amok's music they certainly aren't a carbon copy. Vocalist Stephen Matulevicze has an excellent set of pipes, very much a lower register Joey Belladonna, and the band manage to get the feel of those Testament grooves and choruses which make the songs really catchy. There is some great guitar work courtesy of Calum Henderson and Greg Corlett and new drummer Matt Storry is a bit of a beast on the kit. Bassist Keith Henderson also does everything asked of him.
After the one and a half minute instrumental '1885' opens proceedings the title track hits you straight between the eyes and it immediately proves that Amok know exactly how to craft a good heavy thrash anthem full of melody and time changes that merge seamlessly together (modern day Metallica could certainly learn a thing or two from this lot). What follows is approximately fifty minutes of excellent music with several songs coming in over the six and seven minute mark. They never feel overlong though and the fact that Amok mix it up with shorter tracks also works well giving the album a diverse feel!
'Somewhere In The West' is easily up there with other modern Thrash albums from the likes of Evile, 4Arm, Mortillery and Hatriot and you certainly wouldn't think Amok were from Glasgow because they've managed to get that US sound spot on. It's also a well produced album. Everything can be heard but it's not 'over digital' and it sounds like an album should do 'REAL'. I'm also liking the artwork which doesn't scream 'retro thrash' and certainly hope it's not another five years before Amok are back with album number three because they are too good to be silent again
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley