Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Amaranth - I Have The Right To Remain Silent (EP) (2013)
When Danila Nikodinovskog created Amaranth in 1999, it was during a difficult time for his home nation of Serbia. The NATO bombardment was underway, and tensions were high. But when he sat down to record the tracks "Silent" and "Spleen" in 2001, it was as a solo artist, an acoustic guitarist and composer. Now, some twelve years later, the duo of tracks, with the addition of one another, is being released to the masses by the Serbian Metal Portal. Now having taken the shape of a full band, joined by guitarist Marko Tomašević, bassist Tomica Tomašević, and drummer Matija Dagović, Amaranth is more than just a pipe dream in a war torn state. Nikodinovskog has evolved as a writer and musician since the inital recording process took place. But these three tracks still have the ability to embody everything he was feeling more than a decade ago. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and online distribution, "I Have The Right To Remain Silent" is ripe for the taking.
The behemoth of the album leads things off, with the 14 minute "Silent" fading into view. It's the first wave of acoustic guitars that gives the track its overall beauty. The first movement is a piece of impressive work combined with melodic sensibility. Rather than trading off light and dark, they let the two mingle together in profound ways, with the clean guitar work forming the backbone. But it is the vocals that make the track complete, with their sullen tone and emotional presence. The track builds, brick by brick, finally hitting a high just short of the half way mark. With their ability to dial it back at times, the band is able to control the flow of the track, right down to the light touches of synths. But all of that restraint and control is merely a front to unleash a wave of battering drums and uptempo delivery. While it is short lived, that burst of energy is enough to fuel the rest of the album. If one of the three tracks had to define what it is this band is doing, "Spleen" would be it. What you have packed into this eight minute framework is what "acoustic doom" would sound like in your mind. They combine the pacing and tempo of doom, but subtract that sometimes overbearing use of distortion and blasting drum beats. It takes the somber nature of the beast and turns it almost bitter sweet, with acoustic guitars and clean vocals dominating the mix. It is the structure of "Zivite Li" that makes it a fitting closer; psychedelic passages are the bookends to a darker middle section, striking a balance that is difficult to achieve. The subtle beauty of the guitar work replaces any need for wild solos or bizarre time signatures. Instead, you have broad, sweeping soundscapes that are a credit to the writing process, as well as the talent at hand.
Taken at face value, this would seem to be a marriage of opposites that just wouldn't work. Acoustic guitars? Doom metal? But much like As Autumn Calls showed us nearly two years ago, you can not only make it work, but make it sound incredibly profound. Amaranth may have recorded these tracks a decade ago, but they sound as refreshing as they did then. By keeping with their theme, melancholic doom, they have created an EP that might never sound dated or old. Stop and think about that for just a minute; an album that will sound as good ten years from now as it does today. Not only is that a rare feat, but it is a damn impressive one. No matter how many years pass, nothing will be able to take away the beauty and emotional investment that is engrained into every note of this EP. Maybe that doesn't seem like a whole lot to rely on right now. But come 2023, when you pull out this disc, blow the dust away and play it in your store of the art music machine, it is going to mean a lot.
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