Monday, February 10, 2014
Amok - Somewhere In Time
Many of the UK thrash metal bands back in the 80's never managed to get into the first or second tier. Xentrix and Slammer are possibly the only thrashers from that period of time and corner of the world that ever managed to leave an impression but it was never as large as their German and American cousins.
Decades later Evile have fought their way into the first tier of retro-thrash but there's a Scottish band called Amok following hot on their heels. These guys don't sound the average pub metal band who have plugged away for years playing the requisite Metallica/Megadeth and Slayer due to the melodic vocals of Stephen Matulevicze being close to Joey Belladonna which lends Amok that sound Anthrax achieved when they were on the top of their game. There are a few moments here and there were he sounds like late 80's Chuck Billy as some of the echo effects could have come from "Practice What You Preach" . This is a thrash metal frontman isn't scared to prove that he has singing ability. When was the last time you heard an Anthrax cover in your favorite music dive bar? Yeah, I can't remember either. Deciphering the lyrics isn't difficult due to the vocals and the fact that they come through crisp and clearly.
The music backing up the vocals is largely reminiscent of Anthrax too. The riffing is crunchy and technical and backed with strong speedy drumming. Despite the speed, it never sound like the individual musicians are competing in a race to the finish line. It's not all full-on thrash either as some of the guitar sounds are clearly from the Maiden songbook but throughout "Somewhere in the West", it's Joey Belladonna period Anthrax that come to mind. "Lawbreakers" has an undeniable New York sound as there's a tinge of New York hardcore bands like Gorilla Biscuits in the guitar sound and rhythm section. Some may write Amok off as a clone band but in an age of Cookie Monster soundalike bands putting brutality ahead of writing music , Amok's easily accessible Anthrax sound is both very welcome and highly enjoyable. Wherever you are on the globe, it's time to listen to Amok run so make time to kill time and click their bandcamp link to listen this album.
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