Amorphead - _Psychotic_
(Independent, 2009)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (5 out of 10)
Let's assume for the purposes of this article that European death metal has surpassed its American counterpart in terms of variety, abundance and popularity in the international metal scene. It has also become customary to expect most European death metal bands to be Swedish, Finnish, Polish or German, but this article's subject is not from these frost-bitten countries. Amorphead hail from a small town in the south of Italy called Catanzaro. Their music has a hint of the traditional heavy metal sound, which is evident in their plentiful use of steady chugging riffs, and it also has a more apparent melodic death sound.

_Psychotic_ runs for almost twenty minutes from its gradual and cleverly built up intro "Dreaming" to its outro "Awakening" that has some fairly impressive lead guitar work. "Rabhead" and "I'm Unreal" don't really stray from each other. Despite having a couple of engaging guitar solos under their belts, the average riffing and predictable transitions tend to dim their flashy air.

The title track "Psychotic" is a rather double edged piece. On one hand you have a prominent melodic death influence and a pretty energetic chorus, but on the other hand, the resemblance between its verse riff and the main riff from Metallica's "Of Wolf and Man" is just striking. The melodic riff and galloping drum beat on "Critical Mind" fit perfectly together, but I honestly think the double bass triplet pattern didn't fit well with the 16th note riff being played behind the guitar solo.

So this EP doesn't raise any eyebrows, but it also isn't a one-listen-only release. Amorphead do have some good characteristics and some others that still need some work. The production quality will need more than a push in the future to provide a more solid release regardless of its compositional outcome. On the other hand, if they can't find their own definitive sound in the near future, I'm afraid they could get quickly stuck in this rush hour traffic of middle class European death metal bands that are flooding the international scene.


(article published 13/1/2010)

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