London’s Amulet return with a new line up and more notable a new singer for their second album release. I caught the new line up nearly a year ago at ‘Frost & Fire London’, this is the first time I have gone through the material in focus, having seen many snippets posted online in recent times.

‘The Satanist’ chugs itself into action, maintaining the stance of earlier records, but with this, and overall the album itself, the band move into the 80’s in terms of metal influences. Far away are the faint references to the NWOBHM movement they were always quoted as, here there’s more Maiden, Priest and Sabbath (80’s era). By having Italian Fedrico “Mace” Mazza on board on vocals, they have been able to grow and expand their sound. Look what happened to a certain London band around ’81 when they did a similar thing eh!

They head out to the highway when starting to sing about ‘Burning Hammer’ and quickly entice a ‘Shockwave’ of near epic metal range prior to this. ‘Call of the Siren’ and ‘Gateway to Hell’ will be favourable to early Manowar fans, whilst ‘Poison Chalice’ is a strong British metal statement. The only thing I would say that I feel could improve is the drums and guitars. The vocals are very expansive and the bass is a touch louder in the mix, the other instruments have a low level of sustain to match. However, they have remained true to their sound, but there is so much potential here to progress even further. Completing their work is a three part epic; this is where Amulet has grown in confidence and ability. This does have a completely separate feel to their first album and their demos, mainly due to the vocals. Quite wisely, it was and is an opportunity for the hangmen to find new ground and push their music further.

A strong effort, a complete breath of fresh air in terms of song writing and ability and the bare bones of what makes Amulet great still remain. I watch with interest, there’s a story unfolding here, ‘The Inevitable War’ is just the start.

(8/10 Paul Maddison)