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Amber Tears - When No Trails

Amber Tears
When No Trails
by Martin Knap at 22 April 2019, 7:24 PM

The Russian Melodic Doom band Янтарные Слёзы (romanized “Jantarnye Slëzy”) know also under their English moniker AMBER TEARS, has been around since the early 2000s and “When No Trails” is only their third full-length album so far. At a first glance AMBER TEARS play typical Death/Doom inspired by bands such as SATURNUS or MY DYING BRIDE, but there is more to their music than that. Their music has Folk and Atmospheric undertones, but not in any straight-forward, cookie-cutter way. The Folk or Atmospheric vibe doesn’t come from a use of particular melodies or song-writing approach, rather, it is an aura or mystique integral to the music – a primordial, hypnotic force of the music that gives it an ancient, primeval feeling. The simple, melodic riffs have a kind of “circular”, trance-inducing quality and they seem to me as musical expressions of archetypal ideas such as the ouroboros, the cosmic wheel or the spindle of the Fates, hence the affinity with traditional Folk Music.

Sing the Wind, Sing the Raven” has an ambient intro with a dark, haunting vibe that is pierced through by a dreamy but powerful guitar melody. The verse is mellow with spoken lyrics, the chorus is huge and explosive, all the more because of the contrast with the verse. The seven minutes long song has also a nice instrumental section with simple but captivating guitar leads. “Where I Stayed” has a verse with both soft and harsh vocals that are backed by soft strumming of a mandolin, the chorus has a huge, emotional melody, and the lead melody at the end of the song is breathtaking. The nine minutes long “In the Whirlwind of the Last Days” has a trippy intro with chanting and a minimalistic riff of what sounds like some primitive bass harp. The verse is acoustic with only a primitive drumbeat and strumming of a mandolin whose “call” is responded to by a huge, epic riff. Lead melodies and soloing in the mid-section provide the song with a great sense of progression, it ends with an ethereally sad and tender outro. “Under the Stars Light” is the most vivacious tune on the album with a driving, folky melodies; the soloing is a bit more flamboyant, but always controlled and tasteful. The album closes with the ten minutes long “Where There Is No Spring,” that gives me a MY DYING BRIDE vibe and has a powerful, deeply mournful chorus.

Sorry SWALLOW THE SUN, but this relatively unknown Russian band takes the Death/Doom cake so far this year as far as I’m concerned. AMBER TEARS don’t do anything out of the ordinary in terms of melody or songwriting, but everything is “on point” in the songs and on the album (its play time is around 40 minutes, basically you might call it “short and sweet” for Doom Metal), and their music has a spellbinding energy. They fuse harshness and tenderness to create powerful, dreamy songs that are captivating and memorable. Death/Doom fans – but not only they – definitely shouldn’t miss this.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sing the Wind, Sing the Raven
2. Where I Stayed
3. In the Whirlwind of the Last Days
4. Under the Stars Light
5. Where There Is No Spring

Viktor Kulikov - Drums
Dmitry Schukin - Guitars (lead)
Alexey Rylyakin - Guitars (rhythm)
Anton Bandurin - Vocals
Evgeny Zorichev – Bass

Record Label: Solitude Productions


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