Amulet are London’s future legends, having followed this band from their inception it’s with great pleasure that I get to review their debut album on a major label, something that is both warranted and something that is justified via their hard work and consistent quality control of their music.
Originally I penned this band as being a link between 70’s hard rock and NWOBHM, a style that was both classic and genuine through their songs. With this first full length release, Amulet develop this further and gather a realm of influences that takes in the likes of the fast momentum of Deep Purple’s grandiose rock epics (‘The Gauntlet’) to the cult metal scene of Scandinavia circa 1982, e.g. Heavy Load etc…, via tracks like ‘Evil Cathedral’ and the haunting tone of ‘Glint of The Knife’. There are also darker influences from the likes of Pagan Altar that come to the forefront on certain parts of this recording, there is a lot of stuff happening here, but it is recorded in their own style, it’s not a retrospective tribute album. Recorded and mixed by singer Jamie Elton with artwork completed by bassist Bill Dozer, Amulet have their DIY ethic nailed and they know where they want to go in the process.
Out of nowhere comes an electronic instrumental called ‘The Flight’ which reminds me of cult movies such as Logan’s Run, whilst the flow into the next instrumental ‘Talisman’ takes me to comparisons with the US band Stone Dagger via the guitar tone. There is a classic feel, there is little distortion, it’s not required, by doing this Amulet’s songs and guitar solos often exude emotion and take you to areas of music long forgotten, it provides a warm mildly overdriven sustain sound. Amulet are very true to their roots and sound well-versed and comfortable in their heavy metal ethos.
For some real fist pumping reaction, check out ‘The Sacrifice’, as this has a cool change of pace part way through and then you have ‘Mark of Evil’ which is really motoring. This is a track that also features on the ‘Well ‘Eavy Vol I’ compilation recently released by the band and is a current live favourite that debuted as an untitled track early last year.
British metal is often led by complacency by its own inhabitants, quite remarkably in my opinion, I for one am really proud of our musical heritage and what its influence has been among the worldwide phenomena known as heavy metal. Amulet truly are the definition of early heavy metal, retro enough to have genuine roots but level headed enough to write songs that mean something and put a sense of mystique back into metal music, like I have said before, they are a link between the 70’s and NWOBHM. ‘The First’ is one of those releases that you can spin time after time and genuinely get excited about with each listen. This is a fantastic platform for a young talented band that I suspect will grow even bigger once this bad boy gets it release date. I’ll certainly raise a glass and include big thumbs up of appreciation for this debut release simply called ‘The First’, for you the fans, the hangman awaits…
(9/10 Paul Maddison)