Escaping Amenti – Awakening

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Big Balls Productions
Distributor/label URL: http://bigballsproductions.se/
Released: 03/11/17
Buy Album: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/awakening/1298641806
Band Website: http://escapingamenti.com/

Band line-up:

Strife – Vocals
Umbra – Vocals
A̸҉͢n̛͞im͏͜u͝s̡͜͡ – Bass & Keyboards
Ranzal – Guitar
Shemseth – Guitar
Anaktïsi – Guitar
Mangler – Drums

Tracklisting:

1. Awakening
2. The Gathering
3. Our World
4. Nuclear
5. Riptide
6. This Will Never End
7. Voice Of Mankind
8. First Blood
9. Diary, Pt. I (Seth Vs. Horus)
10. Memories
11. The Depths Of Amenti
12. Echoes Of The Void
13. The Secrets Of The Past

Review

Stylised as a theatrical/apocalyptic metalcore act, ESCAPING AMENTI’s debut album represents something somewhat ambitious for an act that’s only just dipping their toe into the full-length waters. “Awakening” sees these Swedes, whose theatrical appearance doffs the cap towards veterans SLIPKNOT, attempt a concept album straight out of the traps. Full marks for having the balls to go for something quite so lofty, but how’s the music?

In an alternate version of Earth, religion is a relic confined to history and humanity has advanced technologically to our species’ benefit. After a catastrophic mishap involving the Moon, humanity is divided into two and live apart, until the day that the “Hybrid-born” discover a sleeping entity known as the Amenti. Once worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians, the Amenti ultimately decided to enslave humanity into their own realm but, as is typical with us, were met with resistance. Thus, “Awakening” is just the beginning of the story of humanity’s attempts to escape Amenti (see, it all ties together, right?)

It’s a fantastical story, without a shadow of a doubt, and chimes into life with the bombastic “Awakening” before dropping into the hard-hitting “The Gathering”. But amidst the chugging riffs and aggressive vocals, there’s synths that throb and squeak away. Hell, the main hook is lifted from BEYONCÉ’s “Run The World (Girls)”, so have fun removing that from your brain (surgery is recommended). It certainly adds colour to the maelstrom beneath, though it’s not used as a crutch for all songs, mercifully. Tracks like the thumping “This Will Never End” (with its killer “hush little boy” verse refrain) and soaring ballad “Memories” stand on their own without it. In fact, the later is really quite special – a wonderful culmination of power, precision and depth that marries oh-so well with the concept at hand.

The concept actually serves as a wonderful focus for ESCAPING AMENTI. There’s no room for filler or anything superfluous – every track knows what it is and what it’s supposed to do. It ably keeps things in check, but one wonders what would happen without the overarching story. Without a narrative, “Awakening” is very much a by-the-numbers metalcore album. If you’ve been listening to the genre for sometime, you’ll recognise all the hallmarks: soaring choruses, hard-and-fast chug riffs, breakdowns galore and the occasional individual indulgence. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not offering anything new and can quickly flow from one ear to the other with little registration between.

A quick scan of certain track titles, namely “Diary, Pt. I (Seth Vs. Horus)” would offer hope that there might be a little Middle Eastern-influence permeating the album. It’s not something that metalcore seems to have indulged in, and the hopes were raised for a metalcore NILE – something which would have raised “Awakening” to the stratosphere. Sadly, there’s no harmonic minor tonality to be found, and the riffs continue to bludgeon away as we’ve come to expect down the years. The fact that there’s an Ancient Egyptian aspect to the story would have made that addition oh-so apt, but it’s conspicuous by its absence, unfortunately.

For a lack of innovation, ESCAPING AMENTI’s debut album would have been a stellar bow to the masses, yet what follows is metalcore through and through. It’s nothing that you haven’t heard before, but then it’s nothing to walk away from either. “Awakening” is a concise cut, with a strong narrative that keeps everything in check and ably assisted by an exceptionally strong production that keeps on giving. If you like a no-frills album, with a good story set to music, then ESCAPING AMENTI will certainly provide one here.

Review by: Lee Carter
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