My vote for best record label of the year so far goes to Listenable Records. The new THEORY IN PRACTICE, VILE, GRIEF OF EMERALD, SCARVE, the upcoming MORS PRINCIPUM EST and also the debut-CD by AMARAN are one by one beauties of records! Sweden's AMARAN debuts in the Metal world with their album "A World Depraved".
First of all the artwork, a fantastic image of a dark horizon with leafless trees, in an endless ocean, it looks fantastic. I'm a sucker for artwork and this is really beautiful stuff, almost enough for a good grade. Well, fortunately the artwork is not the determining factor for that, AMARAN also delivers a rock solid debut. The style can be best described as female-fronted Power Metal, but without sounding like for instance NIGHTWISH. First of all, the music is very technical, with fantastic guitars that would be perfect for any Death metal bands as well (though the riffs have more this power-esque feeling to me), something that also counts for the drums. Secondly, there are no keyboards.
And then for the vocals, vocalist Johanna DePierre doesn't sing in an operatic way on this record, but instead has a very strong voice which suits the music of AMARAN perfectly! The result is a heavy dynamic record that is more than fine for a debut! Tracks of increased interest are the opener "Faith Healer", "Rusty Warhorse", the magnificent "Daffodil" and "Little Victory". A small minus, the album drags on a bit near the end, something that doesn't badly alter the overall view of the CD, but does lower the grade just a tiny bit. Still the fact is that "A World Depraved" is a solid debut album and a nice introduction to beautiful things to come from AMARAN! (Online August 8, 2002)