My only other exposure to Eastern European metalcore is Poland’s rather excellent Faust Again, but Croatia’s Amok have also proved to be ample bearers of the metalcore flag with a short but solid and crisp debut album that’s firmly rooted in The Black Dahlia Murder, Darkest Hour and Unearth.With the usual flaws of a young band mimicking their US peers, Amok’s heavily accented sound is energetic and convincing if, a little too reliant on the source material and slides in easily amid the second tier of US metalcore (My Bitter End, Fallen Angel, Last Perfection, Age of Ruin, etc).

If you’re still reading this review, you are metalcore fan curious as to this unexpected album, and really don’t need a full explanation of the bands delivery; it’s straight up, well done metalcore. The only thing that may make a difference is that the majority of songs are sung in Croatian (“50 Ljieta”, “Zasto Ja”, “Levijatan”, “Clich” and a cover of Crass’s “So What?”), but the energy and competent delivery transcends languages, and translations are provided. Of course most of the lyrics deal with societal inequality, religion, politics etc, but Amok seem pretty genuine, and it’s refreshing to her about the plights of others than our self absorbed pleas.

The higher octane metalcore/thrash template is more apparent than the usual burly breakdown infested material, as the tracks generally canter by in short melodic, raucous bursts and few clean injections here and there. Tracks like opener “Men and Pigs”, “The Dawn of the WASP Empire” and “Your Salvation, My Damnation” are primal yet polished in their refrain. As Eastern Europe got by on pure rawness in their early death metal endeavors, Amok carry the same kind of unblemished vigor in their fledgling metalcore foray. “Levijatan” is the only track that kind of has some pacing to it, ending the album on a fitting somber note and it shows Amok do have the ability to slow things down if needed.

A surprisingly good album that ardent metalcore fans will want to check out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 28th, 2005


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