“Amulet”, noun, from the Latin amuletum; meaning “an object that protects a person from trouble”.
Grainy tape cassette recordings and old school heavy metal authenticity: holding hands like brothers in medieval battle since 1964. It’s really only recordings like this that actually sound like they benefit from the cackling and slightly warped, yet strident undertones booming through the speakers, versus than the shiny, crisper sister versions on Youtube. It’s short but sweet demos like this one that retain the very essence of what being in a band, in a garage, with your mates, is all about.
Amulet are a brand new London-based trad doom metal band featuring Marek ‘Heathen’ Steven (ex-Invasion, amongst others) on guitar, Jamie Elton (Doctor Death, Prince of Pratts) nailing lead vocals, Bill Dozer (brilliant stage name!) on bass and Dave Sherwood behind the kit. Taking in all the usual suspects of heaviosity: Trouble, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, and (do I even need to type it) Black Sabbath, the foursome have wasted no time in crafting four mid-length stompers based solidly around retro riffage, big bass rhythms and enough hooks to keep a fishing trawler out of bankruptcy. There’s a huge nod to the NWOBHM old guard here too, and the musty wake from the amps behind the riffs brings to mind many long lost live bootlegs of Diamond Head, Raven and perhaps most comparably, Witchfinder General. Jamie’s startlingly rounded wail slots in beautifully over the top of this classic metal feast, to result in the type of appeal King Diamond stumbling into Cathedral’s ‘Caravan Beyond Redemption’ rehearsals and demanding a try-out would have.
‘Running Out of Time’ is the most immediate track on here; Heathen Steven’s fingers conjuring up a dogged, chugging riff straight from your local graveyard to headbang along to Sherwood’s sharp ride cymbal hits and Dozer’s almighty bass rumble. With Jamie’s sweet, yet commanding tone poured over the top, it’s a suckerpunch combination straight out of 1981. ‘Black Magic Attack’ is faster, sounding like ‘It’s Electric’ being played by a coven of witches dancing on flaming hot coals in Satan’s lair. ‘The Hangman’ stomps across the room to you and forces your skin to shudder and your fist to rise as Jamie lays down the challenge to “face him or die!!” ‘Sign of the High Priest” is a crunching conclusion to tape side B which echoes Manowar’s ‘Battle Hymns’ fade-out with its anthemic chorus-line and adrenaline-charged groove.
‘Cut the Crap’ stays true to its title by certainly taking no horseshit. Sucking you into a mid-eighties timewarp, dressing you entirely in denim, taking the money from your pocket, copping off with your girl and riffing you senseless in the process, it certainly delivers a taste of what you’ve been missing since Ozzy went mental and Eric Wagner dropped off the doom wagon. If you don’t dig cassettes, tough shit, it’s their way or no way and I for one certainly look forward to their full length vinyl debut arriving in all good extremely obscure record shops near you soon.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Pete Green