"Amduscias" (Metal Blade/Blackend)
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
This mini-CD of six songs from the Japan-based black metal
band Amduscias tries too hard to be like their Scandinavian counterparts. It would have
been interesting if Amduscias had incorporated a few Japanese melodies into the songs.
Since the disc was recorded in spurts over a long period of time it is obvious that the
band matured over the course of eight months (late '96 through mid '97). I can only guess
that the songs were recorded in pairs; each pair shows an evolving band trying to find
their own voice.
The first two tracks are simply awful. The tracks "The Dragon Dominion" and "The Cursed Destiny" do absolutely nothing to separate themselves from generic run-of-the-mill black metal. The incessant rapid strumming is almost unbearable. Even the production is flat which further makes the experience a trying one at best.
Amduscias start to show signs of life with "Hell On Earth" which distinguishes the band as at least having some potential. "Dominion Of Darkness" is further proof that the band might actually have a future despite the song's typical black metal leanings. "Dominion Of Darkness" has more discernable changes in the riffs and music, the vocals are more audible, and (gasp!) there's a lead guitar track.
The last two songs benefit from better production, clear mixing, and better song structures. I had previously reviewed "Sacrifices Within Me" ("Blackend III" compilation) and I still think the song is too cluttered for its own good, but at least now I understand where the song fits in the flow of the band's growing maturity. "Blood From Your Heart," the last track, actually impresses with its pacing and ethereal parts which provide a moody backdrop to the sinister sound.
Despite the fact that the songs got better with each track what disappoints me most is the clear lack of emotional weight of the songs. Most black metal succeeds in conveying sorrow or mourning; Amduscias merely plays off as a cheap imitator with little or no understanding of the genre's appreciation for the depth of human sadness. However, based on the strength of the last two tracks I hold out hope that the band will continue to progress and perhaps create some striking material in the years to come.
I may not have enjoyed this too much, but if you like Enthroned or Usurper then Amduscias will be a good addition to your CD collection. I get the impression that this new outfit can only grow from this point on out; it will be interesting to see if Amduscias can elevate their music to a higher level of artistic achievement. It certainly would be a breath of fresh air to have decent black metal coming out of a different continent other than Europe.
Amduscias is Ryuichi on bass and vocals, Tomoya on guitars, and Mike I on drums.
For more information on http://metalblade.iuma.com/ to be on the lookout for news from this emerging outfit.
A classic. This record will kick your ass.
Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.
So-so. You've heard better.
Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.
Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.
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