Review Summary: A classic in death metal, with a hint of rock & roll to make this album truly unique.
I'm surprised that this album wasn't in the database, because it is a fantastic album by Sentenced before they started getting all Gothic. It's fair to say that this is the best album they ever made.
Sentenced (at the time):
Miika Tenkula – Guitar
Sami Lopakka – Guitar
Taneli Jarva – Bass guitar and vocals
Vesa Ranta – Drums
Let me get this straight, this isn't a 'brutal' death metal release in any way. Nor is it a melodic death metal album either, it comes more into the 'Death Rock' category, if that even exists. I say this because the tempo rarely goes ridiculously fast, granted they do up the speed at certain points on a lot of tracks but this is done very tastefully and makes the songs a little less predictable. There's a slight change of sound from their previous albums, the band simply decided to add some Rock influences and loose the Black Metal atmosphere they had on “North From Here” which resulted in a very strong, raw and melodic sound which I call 'Death Rock'. The singer's vocals are a mix between black metal screams and death metal growls, and he does them very well; they suit the sound of he music very well and give it a sort of 'Rock & Roll' attitude.
The songs are pretty diverse, there are melodic death metal moments in 'New Age Messiah', and 'Funeral Spring' is a laid-back death hymn with some nice jazzed up wah wah bass and a dreary atmosphere. It also has a bit of the black metal atmosphere on the previous albums on 'Moon Magic'. But 'Forever Lost' is the stand-out track on this album, it's pretty hard to describe but the band are in top form here, there are even some female vocals which suit the atmosphere of the song. This album is pretty varied, and a lot of the songs are all over the place yet they keep a good rhythm, so to speak, and they manage to actually be a 'song' rather than just a load of instruments playing together.
As I previously said, the vocals are well done on this album. I think the best way to describe them would be death metal shouts, as they aren't really screamed or growled, but somewhere between. The lead guitar is a vital part of “Amok” and the bands sound in general, there’s always a melody or a tiny solo lick to make it more enjoyable, the guitarists are fantastic in this album, with a lot of memorable riffs and great solos throughout the album. Just checkout the ace lead guitar in 'Forever Lost' to know what I mean. The drums are also done very well on this album, managing to set the tempo of every song to fit the guitars and the mood perfectly.
Looking at the previous albums ("North From Here" and "Shadows Of The Past") and comparing them to "Amok", I think that it’s less technical and lighter but still better and more fun. Looking at the albums that came after this one, well, it just goes to show that things changed when Taneli left and they got Ville Laihiala to sing those trademark Gothic Rock songs. If this album is missing in your so-called "great" Death Metal collection you really should get off your butt and get it, you’ll thank me later.
Great lead guitar and solos
Very 'Rock & Roll'
All over the place, but in a good way
Actually different and unique
Production isn't perfect
Some people may dislike the vocals