Amiensus – Reclamation part 1 (M-Theory Audio)

Monday, 29th April 2024
Rating: 9.5/10

Re-emerging after four years, with 2020’s Abreaction being their last release, Amiensus also sport a new label in tow. Always an exciting act due to their innovative approach to darkness, operating in waters that tend to shift a bit with each new album – occasionally leaning further into black, folk, or progressive metal, and never really returning to the same mixture. Yet they always find a way to make things seem so captivating. New album Reclamation, due to length, was broken into two parts so we are investigating only part 1 at the moment, with the second half set to be released this summer. We’ll just say that the band has lost none of their charm or depth with this new chapter.

There’s always been a certain mixture of both warmth and cold, black urgency with Amiensus. Reclamation part 1 seems to make the argument that the band have never been more on top of their game. Over the course of the 8-track first half, the songs themselves vary from song to song, though uniting under the band’s ability to merge all of their components into a masterful cohesive display. Gloomy, windswept melodies open up the album with “Blink of the Moment,” where some old melodic doom vibes provide a sense of yearning and warmth before the cold, blastbeats and growls swing the band in a more blackened direction. Moving into some almost soothing clean vocals and ethereal riffing, then swerving into almost death metal intensity leaves the listener breathless as the song takes all of these little tidbits and turns them into one hell of an opening statement. Strings and a greater emphasis on the proggy and blackened side of things highlights “Reverie,” which offers a massive sense of satisfaction as the song nails the melodic side of things, with ear-catching melodies and gentle cleans.

Then there’s the trippy, Pink Floyd-esque sounds of “Sun and Moon,” which features some gorgeous string work alongside a lush, warm backdrop of melodies and folk-ish hues. It’s a real impressive track to use in the halfway position, giving the listener plenty of time to absorb the feelings without ever feeling drawn out despite a massive 8.5 minute runtime – a testament to the band’s ability to entrance the listener. “A Consciousness in Time” picks up more of the extreme elements again, alongside some sweeping cello to get you back into the groove for the heaviest track, “Vermilion Fog of War,” which rushes forward with urgency, yet knows how to maintain control and keep the listener’s attention with an attention to detail with playful melodies and plenty of dynamics to offset some of the punishing riffs that bring the song to a passionate conclusion. Finishing the album with instrumental splendor (and eventually bridging the album’s two parts) is “Transcendence Through Grief,” which again captures some trippy proggy feelings alongside the acoustic, folky goodness that the band is so fantastic at putting together.

An impressive album that shows all of Amiensus’ finest features and builds them to a level that the band has not achieved previously, Reclamation part 1 builds further anticipation for it’s second half, while reminding the metal community that they are still one of the underground’s best kept secrets. Black, death, prog, folk – whatever your flavor, you are going to find plenty of content with Reclamation that will leave you incredibly impressed even if you are already familiar with the band. Amiensus have a poignant and genre-pushing masterpiece in their hands, and while the wait may be a few months for the second half, it will more than satiate anyone looking for high quality extreme metal that tosses the traditional boundaries aside for something insightful and far more unique.

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