Amarna Sky – Rising Heresy - 3/5
It always amuses me that that the majority of Ancient Egyptian themed bands are not from modern day Egypt. Here is another example, in the 2006 release by Brazilian two-man group, Amarna Sky. They play a style of doom metal that often incorporates folk elements from the Middle East. This is solid material, with some superficial flaws that end up really hurting the experience overall. Their main problem lays their lack of focus. They get carried away with the Egyptian themes and stop showing their somber emotion of sorrow in their music. That is not excusable, especially from a band that shows early on they can have guitar solos while keeping that doom-laden feeling.
As can be anticipated from any band that is labeled doom, what you can expect is slow tempos, simple heavy riffs, and solid pounding drumming. I did not like the vocalist at first; I thought that his style of reverbed chanting ruined the atmosphere that had been built up. After a few listens, the vocals do add to the pieces, even if they do not sound as enthused as I think they should. This might be one of the few times I’ve thought a band would be better off as strictly instrumental, and the music alone could definitely support such an album. The band has a nice sense of flow, and the songs all work together without blending into one unremarkable sound. This is mostly because they spend a third of the album building up the upcoming track with three minutes of Egyptian themed anticipation compositions.
Their riffing style deserves a special mention. On tracks like ‘Rising Heresy’, the riffs sound like a continuous breakdown, while rarely loosing their depressive groove. Their folk elements are not really folk instruments, but rather normal instruments played in an Eastern fashion, giving them a folksy feel. These range from jangling Eastern cymbals, clapping, keyboard trumpets, and a sitar. These are also backed by occasional industrial elements that are both subtle, and give a sense of depth.
I have never been a fan of the idea of the ‘highlight reel’ when it comes to a record. That attitude leads to the idea that a bands entire worth can be driven from the market value of their first single. On the other hand, I see it is worth in a piece like this where every other track seems to be mere atmospheric emotive build-up for the next track. The band would do much better to sticking to their straight up tracks, or combining their atmospheric build-up into the songs. The track layout they use now just feels half-assed. Overall this is solid work, but has a problem in that they lack spectacular, and in an attempt to remain memorable, they over-do their Egyptian gimmick. Amarna Sky has lots of potential, to not only become a strong act that releases solid doom metal, but also give some credibility back to the gimmick that Nile has beaten like a dead horse.
Highlights: Rising Heresy, Psychostasia, Divine Glory
By C.J. Ulferts