Am Tuat - Themélio - (8.5/10)
Published on April 23, 2014
Genre:Progressive Death / Melodic Doom
Am Tuat is from Netherlands and Themélio is the band’s second full-length self-released album. The Arnhem-based quartet’s been around for over a decade and this shows in the overall quality of the song writing, technique and production. According to a note inside the sleeve the promo I received is a preliminary mix, but it sounds pretty damn good anyway and the instruments have been mixed in just the right way to cast a melancholic net over a well-structured and diverse album. If you’re into progressive death metal with a dash of melody and a swirl of doom then you’ll probably find some joy here, listen to the Soundcloud while you read:
There are only six tracks on the album and it averages down to about seven minutes per track, so this isn’t your standard wham-bam death metal. Each song has been crafted to draw you in, whether it’s the clean vocals and melodies, rollicking death and drum passages, or air-clearing solos. The album maintains a quick pace with growls that provide the backbone to the sound, but in some of the songs the clean vocals create a pivot to the more melodic and doomy side of the music. The drumming’s quite varied and can go from fast and pounding to a slightly off-canter progressive-style that fits the different musical passages perfectly. There are some real nice solos on here as well and the Gelderlanders show good technical ability. The passages are tight, which it would need to be if you’re going to add so many layers to the recording. Luckily it’s not overly brash and it falls short of being an overbearing wall-of-sound-type album.
And then there were a few Opeth, anyone? moments. The combination of acoustic guitar and clean vocals on the bridge in “Leap of Flight” and some of the extensive clear vocal passages in “Rain of Despair” sent Still Life shivers down my spine and during the first handful of spins, the similarities were accentuated often. There’s never any doubt that they’re not Opeth and I often wonder if people don’t take comparisons to bands to mean they’re just copies, but on this album there are a few melancholic moments that resonate of their early-mid era so much that you can’t help but shrink back into the cold and bleak worlds the Swedes painted back in those days. Now, I know some people don’t like Opeth (gasp) so don’t let that put you off, Am Tuat’s brand of doom-infused melodeath is their own.
This is a very solid album and I expect it will end up being one of the best-in-the-genre albums I’m going to hear this year. The band is currently looking for a label to help them release this album and I don’t think many could listen to it and not seriously consider expanding their roster.