It seems like we keep coming back to this, but there are a LOT of these new young bands who are clearly paying homage to the glory days of heavy metal. And while it’s always great to see these kids (I’m 41; EVERYONE’S a kid to me!) embracing the sweet, sweet sounds of NWOBHM and whatnot, there comes a point where some of them start to run together. Standouts to me so far have been THE DAGGER, BLACK TRIP, and AUDREY HORNE to name a few. However I have to say that AMULET is not exactly knocking my Aunt Connie’s socks off. Their debut from Century Media Records, The First, is already out in Europe and is released in the U.S. on October 21.
And by no means is the band bad. They are very capable players and there is a nice warm, vintage feel to the whole album. But it is very much a tale of two halves. I found the first few tracks to be just okay, nothing stellar. However, a pair of instrumentals, “The Flight” and “Talisman” (tracks six and seven respectively) really seemed to turn the tide in AMULET’S favor because from here on out it is one winner after another for the most part. “Mark of Evil” and “The Sacrifice” pile on the old-time riffs and singer Jamie Elton sounds better than he does on some earlier tracks. I also thoroughly enjoyed the JUDAS PRIEST-feel of “Wicked n’ Cruel”. This reminded me of the Hell Bent For Leather album in all its glory, prompting me to fire it up next.
“Black Candle” is more of the same riff-rock, and “Trip Forever” is a fast-paced boogie that will probably be a fan favorite. Closing the disc is “Nightmare” which while good, it tends to meander a bit and hang around just a little too long. The last minute and change is cool, but it felt like it took too long to get there. As far as earlier tracks go, the one that stood out most was “Bloody Night”. The opener “Evil Cathedral” wasn’t bad, either. But for some reason I just wasn’t as impressed as I was with the second half of this album. Overall AMULET did a good job and they get the ‘A’ for effort, but I don’t see The First getting heavy rotation here at A&GS HQ.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Flight”, “Talisman”, “Mark of Evil”, “Wicked n’ Cruel”