Amiensus – ‘All Paths lead to Death’ (EP 2017)

By: Jeff
Rating: 9/10
Release: 19 May 2017
Label: Apathia Records

Minnesota USA’s Amiensus have been one of my favorites for years now and probably one of the most underrated bands out there. While straddling the line between dark folk, progressive and black metal, they have been “threatening” to go full on black metal over the last year or so. Which bring us to the pending EP “All Paths Lead To Death” coming out in May via their new label Apathia from France. Featuring 5 new tracks (as far as I know new tracks) in an EP format, “All Paths Lead To Death” is the heaviest material they have released to date and may just be black metal as interpreted by them. I don’t think I would call it black metal if I compared it to say Watain but to some it could be. I think at the heart of it is the lack of the acoustic or slow/melacholy stuff as the tempo of the tracks here is hitting frantic speed. First of all, thanks to them for calling this an EP after a year virtually bereft of them, 5 tracks at around 28 minutes does indeed an EP make. There is no pulling punches on this release with track after relentless track. Comparative acts? Well, Agalloch will still be one on some level but even better might be new project Pillorian (with ex- Agalloch member John Haughm) and some classic Dissection (at least on this release) Compared to earlier works, they have also stripped most of the clean vocals out opting for the harsher black metal style for most of this release. Vocalist James Benson has definitely been working on his breathing fire/chewing glass vocals as they are beyond hellacious on this. Check out opening track “Gehenna” where he relentlessly sprays venom but still busts out a few of the trippy clean parts. The riffing and the tempos are just relentless in all the tracks with mid-tempo being about as slow as it gets with riffs that are relatively linear with the drumming with some quirky and tangent parts thrown in. Some of the choral vocals from days past are still present at least as a call back to previous albums. Trajectory wise, I was reminded of the transformation of Paganland from their last album to most recent…. altering sound from a more pagan metal based to a black metal based sound but both working equally well. The same is true for Amiensus although I really do miss some of the parts from their previous albums but if not to return, I am definitely OK with what they have done here. It feels like they have challenged themselves to push their musical boundaries and they have succeeded like they normally do.
I feel the mix is pretty safe for the most part, no real major dynamics in terms of a lot of highs and lows, opting for a mid rangy chainsaw/steamroller overall sound which is prevalent in thrash/black metal. There may be some who will turn their backs on the transformation here and I understand it but I think this is their time to do it while they are still feeling themselves out. They can return to some of the more introspective stuff later. For now, bring on the fire Amiensus and set everyone ablaze….. great EP.

1. Gehenna
2. Mouth of the Abyss
3. Prophecy
4. Desolating Sacrilege
5. The River

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