Amarok – Amarok   5 comments

This CD by California’s Amarok arrived at my door with no big hype, no fanfare and no information and you have to admire that. It is saying, let the music do the talking and we don’t give flying f**k if you review it or not, gotta like that kind of attitude. So I take one look at the artwork and say to myself, “I hope the music is as good as the package” and it is. This is one hell of killer down-tuned sludge fest of minimalist doom metal that begs the question why isn’t everybody falling over themselves to get a piece of this action. Here is a bit of history, Jeremy and Brandon started playing music together due to their love for slow music, that seemingly not many people shared. They wanted to play really loud and slow. They started playing together whenever they had the free time. While slowly buying and trading guitar and bass gear, trying to find the tone that they felt would best suit their needs for the project. They played together for almost a year trying new people out in the drummer position or just playing together. Every time they would get a new member they would throw all the material away that the band had written, as they wanted the new potential member to be involved in the creation of our sound and not feel like just a musician for hire coming in to play the stuff. This I think helped them a lot in figuring out what riffs work for them and what didn’t. Finally they found a drummer (in Zeke, who had formerly never played drums in a band) that had an appreciation for the type of music they were playing and was not way beyond their skill level as musicians thus making them feel more comfortable. They also added a second guitar player, Kenny, who was yet another and integral part of the puzzle. He is a good song writer as well as another avid fan of the genre of slow doom. With this group of four they finally felt like a complete band. The rest is your normal band history, they had a finalized group, they started writing songs, came up with a name, and started playing shows. They have done three tours, two to the NW and one down the west coast of California.
From News Review.Com
“[This band] had every opportunity to die, but we never let it,” says Golden, who plays guitar and shares vocal duties with Squyres and Ruggles. We looked at each other and it was like, ‘Is this it? This is it.

Reports coming from California say that Amarok are one of the loudest bands around and this self-titled CD is a testament to that fact as this too is incredibly pummeling and lethal to the cranium region of the body. This album is made of just 3 really long tunes simply named I, II and III and within seconds of the opening track, the hairs stand-up as this is a one-in-a-hundred type doom release. “I” begins with a crushing monolithic riff and the energy of a sloth with vocals that range from a tormented screech to guttural groans. A extra-slow Sabbathain riff change and the track slowly builds in atmosphere and crippling heaviness but what I dig the most is the way it flows as it never sounds that plodding. The only real change of pace doesn’t happen till eight minutes in when the band breaks into a stomping groove but still with the feel of a crippled beast. While there is not much in the way of riff or tempo changes, “I” is a hypnotic epic of tortured intensity and it keeps that atmosphere going for its entire 12 minutes. The guitar sound is thick with a nice amount of fuzz, the bass is deep and has prolonged resonance while the drums are hit in perfect unison increasing the wall-of-sound effect. Track “II” is even longer and even sicker in many respects with the emphasis on a dark, disturbing vibe. There are elements of Khanate and Burning Witch but there is also a under-lying melody that injects incredible amounts of sadness and despair into the song. Around 6 minutes into the song and a deathly chugging monster of a riff is unleashed sounding like a slo-mo version of an early Cathedral tune, this is brilliantly manipulated with subtle but very effective note-runs. After the chugging, you get some mesmerizing lead work that is melodic but very sinister with a buzzing ambience. “II” becomes even more menacing as it moves towards its conclusion, the ambient, droning aspect of the piece is increased along with sonic waves of crashing drums and cymbals.

“III” follows a similar path to “II”, very atmospheric and apocalyptic. There is a similar formula at work too with subtle riff changes and slight tempo shifts along the way that come and go so effortlessly it is easy not to notice it happening. The track also builds up a lethal amount of deadly atmosphere that is as equally captivating as anything else within the realms of this kind of ambient, slightly droning tortured doom metal. For fans of Khanate, Weedeater, Burning Witch, Grief, and for fans of Funeral Doom and more ambient heavy styles, Amarok have made the surprise-release of the year. I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it is and due to the fact that they blend Funeral, Stoner and Ambient Doom Metal styles so well, this should be high on many an doomster’s shopping list. This will be in my top 10 of 2010, highly recommend you check this band out. Tracks from this are posted on their Myspace page, go there for a sample and I am sure most of you will be blown away……..9.5/10
Amarok @ Myspace

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Posted November 3, 2010 by doommantia in Amarok

5 responses to “Amarok – Amarok

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  1. Amazing stuff!
    I hope the band is going to sell copies of the CD.

  2. I don't know what is going on with the album or if it is even officially released yet. I think it is but it is real hard to find any info on this band. The band rules though, killer stuff.

  3. Hey thanks for the writeup – you can purchase our CDs by e-mailing amarokdoom@gmail.com or hitting us up on MySpace.

    -Amarok

  4. We are playing in Seattle tonight (dec 2nd) at the highline with samothrace and cough come out if you can.

  5. Hey all – good news, the record version of this CD is coming out in early May (or buy it on tour in April). You can pre-order the album from http://www.orcawolf.com and download the tracks for donation/free. Note that due to time constraints only the first two songs from the CD will be on the record – either the next record or an upcoming split will feature song #3.

    We're heading out on tour from April 1st – May 2nd – check out the tour dates on http://www.orcawolf.com and soon on myspace/facebook.

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