It is always a treat when a band can take their collective influences, put them in a blender, and create a delicious blend, without sounding like a clone. Welcome to Oblivion, the independently-released debut full length by North Carolina’s Amnesis, does just that.
Amnesis combines vocal styles reminiscent of Mudvayne’s Chad Gray, with the melodic metalcore influence of Killswitch Engage, and adds a dash of the technical prowess of today’s new wave of progressive metal.
Opening tracks Prometheus and Nemesis are hard hitting, and completely headbang-worthy. I sense a small hint of Mushroomhead-influence, vocally across these two tracks. These tracks would translate greatly into a live performance.
Cause and Effect flirts with the idea of a metalcore breakdown,but instead contains a bass & drum solo, that comes off as a pure Tool tribute. If that was intentional, I do not know, but it was definitely a highlight of the song, which otherwise falls a little short in comparison to the first two tracks.
Illusive, is by far, the proggiest track on the album. Combining those lost nu-metal vocals with modern technicality is a marriage that needs to happen more in the scene. There is a very energetic dynamic guitar-wise in this song, that seems to get drowned out in other tracks. Amnesis has the potential to win over a large fanbase with songs like Illusive.
Oblivion is a jam. It hits hard, and fast, but has a great bounce to it. If this is not currently a live staple for the guys in Amnesis, it needs to be starting immediately. This song is made to be shouted along to. Vocalist Jaysun Brenneman is channeling his best inner Phil Anselmo on this track. (and on Red Eye, as well!) It was a wise choice to make this the title track for the album. Like Illusive, it is the type of song that wins people over.
Closing song, Ultraviolence dabbles into rap-metal, with some fun tech-y guitar work. (Not quite Hacktivist, thankfully) The long pause, mid-track derails the track more than it emphasizes it. The track overall comes off kind of messy. It has a manic laugh track over the middle of the song, which overpowers everything else. While that may have been the intention, it makes the song hard to enjoy. As the last track, it is the last impression the listener would have of the band, and I am not sure that Ultraviolence gives a particularly good overall impression of Amnesis. I enjoyed most of the tracks, but a song like Ultraviolence, comes off as dated and mildly silly.
I enjoy when bands attempt something different by combining various elements, and I think that is the best thing about Amnesis as a band. The collective influences from movements over the last fifteen or so years makes them a fun listen. Does it djent? No, not really, but it is made of the same ingredients that influenced a good portion of my current favorite bands. Younger djent/prog-heads may see them as ‘music their dad would like’. However, for those of us that grew up on nu-metal and the early 2000’s wave of metalcore, that eventually grew into progressive metal, Welcome to Oblivion is worth a listen. The strong tracks are really strong, and enjoyable as hell. Yet, the ones that fall short are unfortunately forgettable. I wanted to like all of it, but songs like Angeldust and Venus Envy came off half-hearted. If Welcome to Oblivion had been a five or six track EP of the strongest tracks, I would have been thrilled.
FFO: Mushroomhead, Killswitch Engage, American Head Charge
Notable Tracks: Illusive, Oblivion, Nemesis