Review Summary: With the onslaught of clones that have poured into the hardcore/screamo scene, Amyst brings a refreshing and truly unique sound to the mix.
Amyst produced their first synthcore EP, Seeker in 2011. This is after releasing two fairly unknown EP’s which featured a softer sound and clean vocals. This proves to be a smart change as ever since they released their cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, Amyst seems to have found their footing. The two main aspects that set Amyst apart from so many other bands are their abundant use of synth and the unique vocals that the Ukrainian brothers utilize so effectively.
Yes, synth is nothing new, but I have never heard a decent band that uses synth in almost every second of every song. Amyst uses synth the way that other bands use rhythm guitar. This gives Amyst the ability to create a mood to the song which can range from eerie to beautiful. The range of Amyst’s vocals only adds to the mood. It is propelled by the clean vocals which hit a high note that likely required castration. An example is the eerie chorus of “We’ll Play with Fire Ants...” where the singer reaches this level to the point where it is shrill. This effort is rewarded with a unique sound that only Amyst can provide. The screams are very solid as well, particularly the desperate scream.
Another impressive aspect of Amyst’s music is their transitions. I will use “We’ll Play with Fire Ants...” again because it really is the highlight song on the EP. This song introduces the EP with a hectic sort of synth and a breakdown. On my first listen, I immediately thought “well, another breakdown band, I’ll probably like this for a week and move on to the next”. But then, the instruments slow down to introduce the layered screams, and the drummer gets in a stutter step before the instruments flow perfectly into their previous, hectic pace. This leads to the aforementioned chorus which at first set me back, but has since grown on me. After some lows, the clean vocals come back singing “will you still believe in us"”. The instruments again come to a stop, and the line is repeated with the vocalist screaming “after they, eat the rest of me”. This again leads to chaos. It is these transitions that show the band’s potential. When this is coupled with the mood-making synth, Amyst is able to make their songs feel like a journey; a feat that only the most skilled songwriters can achieve.
Like many young bands, these strengths are preceded by some faults. One is song length. The entire EP of 6 songs comes in at only 18 minutes and songs such as “I’ll Always Be Around” and “The Way Mickey Wears Her Shades” leave a little to be desired. The song “I’d Trade You for a Dream Catcher” starts off quite gnarly with an excellent transition followed by clean vocals and the best breakdown on Seeker which features a desperate scream. However, this ends at about 1:14, and it’s as if the band thought “oh crap, this song isn’t nearly long enough”. They throw in some synth that overstays its welcome and another breakdown which really doesn’t fit into the song, in turn, spoiling the energy that was created by the first half.
Another flaw which will be noticed from start to finish by the average metalhead is the excessive use of breakdowns. The lead guitarist rarely strays from power chords or breakdowns and needless to say, shows little talent. On the contrary, from the point of view of the average hardcore/screamo fan, the breakdowns are almost always used effectively and make for a brutal yet beautiful sound when combined with the synth. Yet another characteristic that sets Amyst apart from the crowd.
Lastly, the lyrics hardly ever stay on track and frequently make no sense at all. The only exception to this is the song “To Sketch Memories in the Stars” which uses the metaphor of an ocean to explain a relationship growing apart and finally ending (a common theme in the hardcore genre). While the topic is not original, the calming and sincere chorus “If I start swimming now is it to late to meet you, I'm not saying that I don't want this, If you stay on the surface I swear I'll reach you” followed by the screamed verse of “So bottle yourself up and leave just air to breathe, Follow the stars, they guide you to shore, They guide you to me” really hit home for me.
Although these flaws are present, they hardly take away from the strengths in these songs (as you could probably tell because I had trouble staying focused on the negatives). Seeker displays Amyst’s great potential that can be achieved through throwing out the negatives and continuing to emphasize the positives. The combination of the mood-making synth and powerful transitions prove to work perfectly together and should lead Amyst towards a bright future.
We’ll Play with Fire Ants Until the Water Floods the Mound
The Way Mickey Wears Her Shades
Pavlo Fenik - screams
Vasil Fenik - clean/backup vocals
Bob Ash - guitar
Karl Germanovich - bass
Jesse Meiring - drums