Review Summary: A strong effort that shows quality musicianship and outlines the story of a winter voyage
The dead of winter was approaching and everyone had just finished their 2012 year-end music lists. Some people may have thought that they’ve gotten everything on their list that they believed to be the best of 2012; however, they may have been missing out on one little gem that would blow them away. But it was not their fault that they were missing this album because it was released on New Year’s Eve. The album cover of this isn’t the only thing that’s cold on this album. Amiensus’ Restoration
is a powerful and durable progressive black/folk metal record that has incredible atmosphere and excellent musicianship, and is seriously a great way to finish the last day of 2012.
The style of music that is displayed on Restoration
varies from black metal with low and high screams to very atmospheric folk. These genre transitions make it a very exciting listen as it never gets boring or tiring for the listener. The clean vocals on this are very reverberated and almost sound robotic as if they were blended with the low and warm synthesizer blurring in the background. The synthesizer is very subtle, but if you’re listening carefully it is very warm and relaxing and not distracting to the rich and powerful metal that is being absorbed by the listener. The synth doesn’t make this sound entirely symphonic or powerful - although a few songs have a very symphonic approach such as Morgawr -, but it adds another realm of beauty by making it relaxing and it contrasts the metal playing as the forefront. This fusion of different styles make this a very progressive album and the way that these tracks are put together so fluently makes it even more so.
The intense black metal sound on this album spurs from the song Millenium which features the lead singer of the symphonic black metal band Abigail Williams Ken Sorceron. The last 2 minutes of this song features some of the best black metal musicianship of this year with powerful deadly vocals and heavy riffage as it breaks apart from the 2 minutes of atmospheric folk that followed. Black metal vocals fuse with the harmonic clean vocals in the song Morgawr as the song would seem powerless without the prominent clean vocals. The folk – or ballad-like- sound on this spurs from songs like I Am, Healer and even Become The Fear, Deeper Than Blood. I Am and Healer keep this very calm and relaxing folk sound with enchanting clean vocals and droning atmosphere. Although, Deeper than Blood and Become The Fear have a very black metal sound, but keeps this folk metal edge as well with its drumming showcasing its influences from bands like Drudkh, Wintersun and Agalloch. The drumming, though, barely ever goes into the zone of blast beats – with exception of a few moments - and most songs relatively keep a medium pace. All of these songs are very well put together with songs like Millenium, I Am and Become the Fear reaching great and dominant climaxes that just explode in the ears of valiant listeners.
This differentiation and atmosphere in sound on this album give the feeling of being in a bright winter forest, like the album cover portrays. It has a very chilling sound and the cause of this is mainly because of the low brooding sound of the synthesizer. If it were on its own it’d be reminiscent of ambient music. Production wise, this album was very well put together. It isn’t raw or anything and it is very similar in style to another releases this year Ne Obliviscaris – especially with the song I Am with the introduction of violins - and Xanthochroid. The band members even express on their bandcamp how they would pass around instruments, so that they’d each be able to play at least one part of a song with that instrument. If only there was at least just one or two more songs or if one or two songs were longer to sooth the taste buds a bit more to make this album even stronger than it is. Overall, this is a very strong effort from a new progressive black/folk metal album. With captivating soundscapes, heavy song structures, fluent musicianship and incredible screamed and clean vocals, Restoration
is not a record that should be ignored, especially at the peak of winter.