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'The First'
(Century Media)
Release Date: 22nd September 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


London's Amulet were founded back in 2010 specifically with the idea in mind of celebrating the glory days of NWOBHM (the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal for the youngsters), the name given to a movement of do it yourself British Heavy Metal bands who sprang up as punk faded away in 1979.

The template is to take the 70s heavy rock sound of the likes of Budgie and Sabbath as a starting point then infuse it with youthful energy and vigour and a disdain for image. The three big winners from that era were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon (very much in that order) but there were dozens of other bands who had some success and the likes of Diamond Head, Holocaust and Angel Witch can still be found on tour to this day.

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This album, appropriately titled 'The First' is the full length debut of the band. As a veteran of the NWOBHM era myself my first impression on listening to the album was that they have really tried hard to capture the retro sound they are after to the point of the album sounding underproduced and cheaply made.

Modern production techniques allow bands to make great sounding albums on comparatively small budgets but 'The First' doesn't sound out of place against some of the old indie label vinyl Metal albums which litter my spare room.

The sound then is authentic so now you are looking for primitive charm, some good songs and the impression that there is enough talent around to over come this but Amulet don't quite manage that on this record. 'Talisman' is a fine slice of old school sub Sabbath riffing with some fine wailing lead guitar leading into the chugging 'Sacrifice' while 'Glint Of The Knife' has some fresh, exciting sounding changes of pace.

However the frantic (in an old school way-no thrash here) pace of the totally unthreatening 'Evil Cathedral' with it's weak chorus and the shambolic, so dumb it's almost fun 'Heathen Castle' are more typical.

I think if I saw Amulet live at some point with a beer or two in my hands I would enjoy them, these guys are obviously very keen on making Metal in its most basic form with a smile on their face. That charm is bubbling under the surface here but in the 21st century this album just sounds woefully short on power and unable to kick proper ass.

I'm not a huge fan of Jamie Elton's slightly wailing vocals either but then I guess that never stopped Ozzy! It will be interesting to see what a younger audience makes of them though than a veteran of the 70s like me.

Line up:
Jamie Elton - VOX
Heathen Steven - GUITAR
Nippy Blackford - GUITAR
Bill Dozer - BASS
Dave Sherwood - DRUMS


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