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Frantic Amber - Bellatrix

Frantic Amber
by Martin Knap at 17 September 2019, 9:06 AM

A Swedish female fronted Melod-Death band? Can they step out of the shadow of behemoth ARCH ENEMY who is the undisputed king – or should I say queen? – among female fronted Death Metal bands and whose status would be very hard to challenge? Let me say first that FRANTIC AMBER is not just another female fronted ARCH ENEMY clone: a) they’re not just female fronted, they are a (quasi) all female band (the band was started by their guitarist Mary Siebeckewith that intention, but they’ve recruited a male Colombian drummer, all other members are women); b) they dont sound like an ARCH ENEMY clone: sure, their style is thunderous and groovy and comparisons with their their famous compatriots is inevitable, but you could also compare them to other bands with this kind of sound like AMON AMARTH or KATAKLYSM. The band‘s sophomore album “Bellatrix” is getting released four years after their debut “Burning Insight,” the album’s concept are great female historical figures that participated in war or just were generally cutting people’s throats. In other word we have the classical martial Death Metal theme but topically focused, which is interesting in and of itself, I’m sure after jamming these songs many listeners will go and look up the figures and events which these lyrics portray.

Bellatrix” is not a long record, with nine middle-length songs it clocks at the the 45th minute mark. After a quick intro we proceed straight to the rager, "Scorched Earth". The song is pretty thrashy and also has a Death-Thrash kind of level of intensity, but of course it has hooks and melodic riffs – I was more reminded of GOD DETHRONED than a typical Melo-Death band like, let’s say, AT THE GATES. Elisabeth Andrews' vocal performance sounds effortless and she has no problem matching the aggression of the music: her growls are deep and she modulates her voice very nicely, like when she adds "brutal" sounding squealing noises. “Lagertha” is also a thunderous song about Vikings; I get some AMON AMARTH vibes from it, those crunchy riffs in particular remind me of that most famous Viking band of them all, but it also, surprisingly, has a tender bridge with clean singing (there aren’t many moments like this on the album). “Joshitai” is a standout song, it was also released as a single. The song opens with a little Japanese theme with a koto (I hope I’m right about the instrument) riff accompanied by flute; the verse is thunderous but the chorus is slower and has a very catchy melody. We find arrangements with oriental instruments also in “Khutulun,” this time with what I assume is a Chinese er-hu and mouth harmonicas. This song is is mostly in the middle tempo but the song has a punchy, uptempo middle section, the chorus is really powerful and memorable. I love “Crimson Seas” which gives me strong MORS PRINCIPIUM EST vibes, especially the tapped chorus riff.

FRANTIC AMBER are not reinventing the wheel on “Bellatrix,” but everything a on this album is solid and the band is well on it’s way to establish themselves as a top notch Melo-Death band. I can definitely recommend this album, especially if you’re a fan of this style.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Warrioress Overture
2. Scorched Earth
3. Lagertha
4. Jōshitai
5. The Ghost That Kills
6. Khutulun
7. Hunted
8. Crimson Seas
9. The Black Knight

Mio Jäger - Guitars (lead)
Elizabeth Andrews – Vocals
Madeleine Gullberg Husberg – Bass
Mac Dalmanner - Drums
Milla Olsson - Guitars

Record Label: GMR Music


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