Amulet is a new traditional heavy metal band that hails from the UK, and aims to play music that sounds like it came from the NWOBHM. More specifically, the band really captures the sound of the legendary Angel Witch. On “The First”, this influence comes from two primary places. The first is the production. The guitars sound really similar to Angel Witch’s debut, where they have a bit of a punch to them, but are not monstrously heavy. This is in direct contrast to many of Amulet’s peers who opt for more perfect production. The other, more obvious nod to Angel Witch is in the vocals. Amulet singer Jamie Elton has perfected that higher-pitched, somewhat restrained vocal style.
Despite the numerous mentions to Angel Witch above, Amulet does have their own identity. They are able to add a more modern twist to the sound of 1980. The first song, for example, opens with high-speed drumming that gets the energy up immediately. This track, along with many others, proves to be built around a catchy chorus. The words of “Evil Cathedral” are easy to sing along to, and are what will stay with you when the album finishes. "Mark of Evil" is another song where it's almost painful how good the chorus is.
Another thing that Amulet does a good job of is adding a bit of a sinister feel to the music. “The Gauntlet” is one example, where the band opens with some more evil sounding melodies before transitioning into a muted guitar riff. This is a relatively prevalent theme throughout the album, and this darker edge adds a unique character to the band’s old-school sound. The interlude, “The Flight”, actually sounds like an ambient Burzum song (“Han Som Reiste”), which is an awesome twist. The only time they occasionally come out of this style is during the (numerous) guitar solos, where the music changes to more of a rock ‘n roll feel.
Overall, “The First” is an easy album to get into. While it doesn’t reinvent heavy metal, it’s a lot of fun, and you don’t have to think too hard while listening to it. Instead, it’s something you can throw on and headbang to. It would be interesting to see the band cut a few tracks and maybe try their hand at a lengthier, more epic tune, but for now, the songs on this album are more than sufficient.
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"Mark of Evil"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott