Wrath of Judgement
The Sweden-based, all-female Frantic Amber is beginning to cause a bit of a stir with their debut EP Wrath of Judgement. The video for the album's title track (which you can view below) is a captivating mixture of beauty and brutality - and is racking up the YouTube views accordingly - but there's much more to this band than corsets and leather. A truly international conglomeration, Frantic Amber boasts members from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Japan. With the majority of the Scandinavian countries represented, there may be an inclination to compare Frantic Amber's sound to any of the plethora of melodeath entities that have emerged from that part of the world. To a degree, such a reference point isn't unwarranted but Wrath of Judgement exhibits a band that is less aggressive, yet no less heavy, than their peers.
Being a melodic death outfit from Sweden with a female singer is sure to bring to mind Arch Enemy, but frontwoman Elizabeth Andrews' style is much more accessible than Angela Gossow's vocal onslaught. While Gossow flails away at the lyrics with hellish fury, Andrews enunciates nicely in a husky, slightly raspy roar. She flirts briefly with a clean delivery style during a short interlude on "The Awakening" and again at the beginning of "Unbreakable", providing an interesting contrast, but she spends the vast majority of the album harnessing her more aggressive abilities.
The pace of Wrath of Judgement is another area where Frantic Amber strays from the genre formula. The songs are mid-paced with appropriately spaced tempo shifts, but never really turn on the afterburners. Emlee (who left the band after the recording of Wrath of Judgement) lays done some solid double-kick from time to time, but you're not going get your teeth knocked out by any blast beats. What you do get, however, is some finely played guitar courtesy of Mio Jäger and Mary Säfstrand. A few of the swirling riffs that these ladies put forth have a bit of nu-ness to them, with some staccato sprinkled here and there, but tracks like "Bloodlust" and "The Awakening" (which is by far the strongest song on the EP) show just how well Jäger and Säfstrand handle their instruments. The melodic twin-guitar riffs of the latter track, coupled with a slightly raw guitar tone, are a highlight as is the noodling solo heard on "Bloodlust". Rounding out the Frantic Amber sound is the discernible contributions of bassist Sandra Stensen, who even gets a bit of a solo on "Unbreakable".
For fans of melodic death metal, Frantic Amber is a band to be aware of as they grow into their sound. Wrath of Judgement, as a debut release, is a solid offering that hints at greater things to come. Don't lose track of these ladies.
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