Amber Tears – Key To December …   Leave a comment

Without a doubt, Russia is the most productive country when it comes to churning out doom metal releases. The main culprits behind this mass production of doom is Solitude Productions and Badmoodman Records who do an incredible job at packaging the albums and releasing quality recordings. You never hear bad production from any of the bands on these labels so they have to be applauded for their high standards. The downside is most of the bands all sound the same and here is another one, Amber Tears. Don’t get me wrong though, this band is very good just as many other bands from Russia but originality doesn’t seem to account for much for these Russians. Amber Tears call their style pagan-doom which is weird as I don’t hear nothing ‘pagan’ about this album. The band play a typical, generic death-gothic-doom style in the vein of My Dying Bride, Amorphis, Anathema and Draconian but musically, this band is flawless. Some of you may remember an album called “Revelations of Renounced” released by Stygian Crypt Productions in 2006, well this is the same band. To be honest I had thought they must have split but they are indeed still going. “Key to December” has great packaging to go along with the excellent, top-notch production but it is all sung in Russian with Russian lyrics printed in the booklet so it is very unlikely this band will ever break out of the Russian doom scene.

While the lyrics are in Russian, it doesn’t hurt the listening experience however but I have no clue what any of these songs are about and that is a major gripe for me personally. I like to get to know an album in every detail so taking the lyrical concepts is a bit irritating. It is lucky for them, the music is at least atmospheric and engaging. Amber Tears  play a slow, death-doom with a blend of spoken and deathly vocals.  They also blend in acoustic interludes, melodic keyboards, backing female vocals to further enhance the atmosphere. You are probably thinking about now that the description I just gave sounds like a million other goth-doom bands and you be right. There is no surprises here at all but that doesn’t mean the band isn’t good, they are very mesmerizing. In one track titled “Away from the Sun,” (and note I am using English translations here as my keyboard wont type Russian obviously)  there is some incredible lead playing but here is something strange, the guitars don’t sound like guitars, they actually sound more like bagpipes to my ears but somehow it all works in creating a moody vibe within the songs. In another song, “Beyond the Edge of Skies” the band get progressive with some soaring keyboard work so this is a fairly diverse album for what it is. The whole album is pretty emotional and in the death-doom vein with “When Snow Will Melt Away” bring the only song to get anything close to being upbeat.

There is a few good riffs but it is the meandering guitar solos that is the driving force behind the band. They have two guitarists so I am not sure who is doing what most of the time but the guitar work is exceptionally good. It is not overly flashy but it is very atmospheric and that makes a change from some other bands using keyboards as their main source of melancholy. If you are not sick of the goth-doom style already, you could do a lot worse than checking out Amber Tears and while the Russian lyrics can be a turn off, the guitar work should be enough to get you through. Good album………..7/10
Amber Tears @ Myspace

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Posted March 8, 2011 by doommantia in Amber Tears

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