Amarna Reign – Storms (2012)

The new year is already off to a pretty good start (album release-wise) and Amarna Reign’s new album, Storms, continues the trend. Even though they have have been around since 2004, this is the Indianapolis band’s first full-length. They have two other releases, both of which are EPs. They are titled Monuments (2007) and Atonement (2009). By the time Atonement was released, Amarna Reign had already moulded their “trademark” sound, and Storms is very similar. The album starts off with some effects and an aggressive breakdown in Sacrifice that sets the tone early. You will probably notice that Storms is heavier than their previous work. It seems like they’ve taken more of a metalcore approach than the post-hardcore/metalcore sound that they had on Atonement. Next on Storms is Drones. This is another very heavy song, but there is not much else going on. The riffage is mediocre and the drumming is solid. However, the screams are very good and that can be expected on the whole album. The third track, Shrines, is one of the best on the album. It features a very catchy and well-sung chorus with some nice guitar leads layered underneath it. There is also an extremely heavy and unique breakdown near the end of Shrines. The next track, Static, is another very good song. The guitar leads are definitely the high point, but followed closely by the breakdown in which the vocalist, Brad, displays his range and gets pretty low. The fifth track, Regrets, starts off pretty fast and maintains that pace for most of the song. Instrumentally, Regrets really reminds me of Within the Ruins and Guardians-era The Crimson Armada with more breakdowns because of the fast, and at times, technical guitar riffs. Next is my personal favourite, Masks. The guitars and clean vocals slowly fade in and you’re instantly hooked. That’s a guarantee! The intro is followed by a little breakdown and some more fast riffing. My favourite part of the album is the second run through of the chorus. The cleanly sung “We are not who we say we are. We are not who we claim to be. These are masks that we hide behind. The mask that hides the face beneath” followed by the little solo is absolutely perfect. The seventh track, Enlightened, features a few good guitar leads and another catchy chorus. A good song, but not a favourite. The next song on Storms is my least favourite on Storms. By this time, some of the songs are starting to sound very similar and many listeners will probably lose their interest or focus. Purge is basically a breakdown song. It is dominated by the same open string chug. Purge is actually a song that kind of lives up to its name. I just want to purge the song from my iTunes and pretend that it isn’t even on the album. Next up is Walls. Definitely a step in the right direction again. While there is a fair bit of breakdowns and chugs on this track as well, there is a chorus and guitar leads to add some variance. The solo near the end of the song is also a plus! The final song on the album, the title track, Storms, is a great way to finish the album. The chorus is well done (yet again!) and the rest of the song is pretty heavy! The final breakdown has some effects and I think it really adds something special to the song. There was not a whole lot of progression from Atonement to Storms, but they obviously put a fair bit of work into the new album and it shows at times. The problem is that they didn’t put quite enough work into it. Storms is riddled with breakdowns and the song structure is pretty similar in most of the songs. There are some good guitar leads and choruses, but they also need more of a variance of guitar riffs and drumming patterns to differ from a typical metalcore band. Almost all of the guitar riffs and breakdowns sounded identical. All in all, Amarna Reign has released a pretty good album in Storms, but it’s one of those things that you might only listen to occasionally in full, or a few songs at a time to avoid becoming bored.
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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews