Amalgama (United States Of America) – Stainless

The thrash metal that I listen to (which is not much, but some) is generally a bit more brutal than this. Dark Angel, Besieged (Canada), Dawn Of Wolves, etc. Amalgama’s music is a lot more melodic than what I’m ordinarily into. That being said, I can still appreciate ‘Stainless’ for what it is: highly professional, well-written, well-crafted heavy/thrash metal that numerous people will likely enjoy. It may not be precisely up my alley, but I can’t fault it for the qualities that it does possess.

The easiest way to describe the music of Amalgama is as a cleaned up Motörhead. If you strip down that band’s grime and filth, give the music a cleaner, crisper production, and add a bass drum, you’ve got a decent idea of what this sounds like. Add some modern heavy and thrash metal, and you’re pretty much right on the money. There’s a lot of melodic, heavy metal derived riffing, with massive held chords and palm muting. There’s also a bit more variation in the form of the thrash influence, where the tremolo riffs and double bass sections reside. These, the most aggressive portions of this disc, are easily the best: they convey the intensity the band clearly desires to carry. This is why ‘Cyclical’ is the best track on here: it’s the fastest, the most propulsive, and the most clearly in the Motörhead style (apart from the melodic soloing, of course).

The weakest songs here are easily ‘Slip Into Darkness’ and ‘Transfusion’. They’re too slow, too long, too mellow, etc. The other tracks make up for it, though: opener ‘Before The Winter Comes’ is pretty cool and filled with oldschool thrash riffing; reminds me a bit of Bishop, in fact, which is a very, very good thing. Closing track ‘Dogs Of War’ is similarly good: heavy, with good riffs and some very intense drumming. I’m not sure about the vocals as a whole: they’re good at what they do, but a bit of extra abrasiveness might be appreciated for the fairly aggressive music. Clean vocals over double bass and thrash riffs just never did it for me; maybe they do for you. The instrumental performances, though, are all top notch, especially when it comes to drumming: unusually creative, with even a couple brief blast beats present.

So while I can’t say that the music here is exactly my cup of tea, I still feel that it does what it does quite well. Amalgama has made a demo of highly professional, well-played, and well-written music that many are sure to enjoy. Obviously those who are into the rawer, nastier side of thrash probably won’t enjoy this too much, but for those who want something modern, clean, and focused, it’s nearly perfect. Not bad at all.


~ by noktorn on September 17, 2007.

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