AMPHITRYON - Sumphokeras

Amphitryon - Sumphokeras

9 songs
47:07 minutes
***** ****


The French can be a really aggravating people at times. For years they act as if it's just impossible for them to create good heavy metal music, and then comes a band like Amphitryon who not only use the gothic death metal genre, which as of now hardly has any interesting contenders left, but they even manage to invigorate their music with a new breath of life.

Founded already ten years ago, Sumphokeras is only the band's debut full length album, and maybe it's just as well they waited that long, because the degree of maturity to be found on the CD would have been unlikely from a band with a shorter background in time. Already the short intro Archeia sets you into a landscape of monumental movies from the 1950s, with oriental sounds that segue into the first regular song Theocracy which may begin like a normal gothic death metal song, but after fifteen seconds you know already that nothing will ever be the way it was before. The female choir vocals lack completely the mock-romance of so many mediocre dark bands, instead you get real drama, and at the very latest at the band's best song Pantheon, you no longer wonder why they have Magma among their top Myspace friends. This is what Zeuhl would sound like if Christian Vander had been a metalhead.

The first half of the album consists of two intros and four shorter songs, the latter half is filled with three longer tracks where Amphitryon justify their slogan to use influences from bands like My Dying Bride and Septic Flesh, and put them into the coat of classical composers. This sounds pretentious, but it works surprisingly well. In times where nine out of ten gothic albums make me retch, Sumphokeras is a welcome return to top notch quality. Not just a good album, but also one that should be a pioneer for future developments of its genre. Outstanding and recommended!

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