Amaran
Pristine in Bondage


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
November 8th, 2008 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chick fronted metal that flat out rips.

To me, finding a good female fronted metal album is a rarity. This rings even truer now that it seems that Nightwish have stopped releasing respectable material and Arch Enemy have basically been releasing the same damn album for the last 5 years. That's not to say that there isn't any good female fronted metal out there anymore, but chances are that if I'm listening to a metal album its gonna be a dude handling the vocals. A couple years ago while scouring the Listenable Records website for Mors Principium Est mp3s I was first introduced to Amaran. Led by singer Johanna DePierre, Amaran's mix of Power Metal with a strong Melodic Death Metal influence immediately caught my attention. Their sophomore release Pristine In Bondage is arguably one of the finest examples of female fronted metal out there.

Even though the band is listed by many as Power Metal, the music presented on Pristine In Bondage is highly indebted to the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene. Right from the get-go its obvious that Arch Enemy has had a large impact on the sound of Amaran. The album's opener "Atropine" kicks into full gear with a heavy down tuned alternate picked riff that is would be perfectly at home on Anthems of Rebellion before it rips into a solo that, while not as technical as Arch Enemy's Michael Amott, shares a sense of his nuanced and melodic style. Guitarists Kari Kainulainen and Ronnie Backlund also have no problems working at a slower pace. Scattered throughout the album are eerie harmonies that, when paired with Johanna DePierre's powerful vocals, create a foreboding sense of uneasiness that permeates the album. Surprisingly for a metal album, the bass is actually given room in the production and is quite audible. Often distorted, the bass gallops away as it follows the guitars. Besides a few fills the bass work is pretty standard but due to its high presence in the mix it adds another enjoyable dynamic to listen to.

Johanna DePierre's vocals are the highlight of the album. You would think that with the music behind her being so influenced by Melodic Death Metal bands like Arch Enemy and Insomnium that the vocal styling of choice would be of the screamed variety, but Johanna's soaring vocals range from the likes of The Gathering's Anneke van Giersbergen at their softest to a more powerful Amy Lee when she really puts some force into them. Her powerful alto also makes Pristine In Bondage an easy album to get into as it eliminates some of the negative connotations often associated with clean female metal vocals be they the operatic cheese of Nightwish or the lack of variation in Lacuna Coil.

Sadly after only two albums Amaran disbanded in 2005 following the departure of vocalist Johanna DePierre. If they had continued on the path laid out by their swansong Pristine In Bondage who knows what the could have achieved? But all conjecture aside, Pristine In Bondage is a refreshing take on female fronted melodic metal with riffs aplenty and beautiful vocals that anyone into heavy music can take pleasure from.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2008


17225 Comments


The review is pretty rushed, but I think people should definitely check these guys out.

Wizard
November 8th 2008


19612 Comments


Great review, I will give these samples on this page a go but female fronted metal bands generally sound samey. I will take your word for it though.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

Gore
November 8th 2008


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Where can I listen to this?

BallsToTheWall
November 8th 2008


44800 Comments


I need to hear this. Myspac away.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Gore
November 8th 2008


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The samples sound really good, gimme a link

Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2008


17225 Comments


What's your email?

also, here's their myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/amaranrocks

Gore
November 8th 2008


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

revengeoftherabidchipmunk@yahoo.ca

Edit:

Thanks a lot This Message Edited On 11.08.08

Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2008


17225 Comments


all set.

BludgeonySteve
November 8th 2008


558 Comments


Those samples sounded kind of annoying. All of the generic guitar riffing. Who let basement shredders into a real metal band? Vocals were good.

sickofantsid
November 8th 2008


129 Comments


Good review. I agree with you on the vocal and,(curiously) the bass, but I'm with RNR on the guitars. The solo's border on bloody annoying.

Wizard
November 8th 2008


19612 Comments


Who the fuck negged?

Hawks
November 8th 2008


35838 Comments


Guarantee its a troll neg. There should be a way to ban all that shit somehow.

Dethtrasher
November 10th 2008


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey! Props for reviewing Amaran! I think that ''A World Depraved'' is so much better than this one.

ronin15
May 29th 2011


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I played this album constantly for 3 months after hearing it. I like the more melodic sound of this one compared to the first album.



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