Album Title: Return of the Black Metal
Label: Barbarian Wrath
This is the fifth full-length release from Amon, a Czech band playing black metal.
As the album name suggests, this one marks Amon's return to the black metal style of Call the Master and The Worship. Dr. Fe is back on vocals, and the death metal riffs from Zrozeni Smrti are barely present. The sound is dominated by chunky, mid-paced riffing, broken by a few faster sections. I've always thought of Dr. Fe as one of the best black metal vocalists, and his work on this album is worthy of the title. His trademark raspy shouts are paired with a second set of vocals, this one in a classic death-metal growl. This is an interesting choice that gives the vocal sound both range and depth. Bass work has always been a hallmark of this band, but it seems a bit less prominent here. Perhaps this is the fault of the mix? The drumming is crisp and competent.
Amon's new (old?) direction is a very positive change, to my ears. The songwriting here isn't on the level of Amon's masterwork, The Worship, but these songs are still great. Songs like "Lucifer" and "Prekonej Svon Smrt" have main riffs that'll stick with you for days, while "Posledni Cesta" and "Mor" unfold in a long succession of catchy themes. The band even gets a little speedy and chaotic on the closer, "Black Metal". There's plenty of variety on display, with an emphasis on old-school black metal riffing.
Return of the Black Metal is far better than "In the Shade of Death" and "Zrozeni Smrti". If you enjoyed Call the Master or The Worship, you'll be pleased by this one. It's great to see Amon return to black metal! Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Beltebor", "Mor", "Prekonej Svon Smrt"