Album Review: AMAROK Devoured
There have been a lot of really great, long-form doom metal records coming out lately. I know long songs have always been a genre trope. Still, there are more albums now clearing the seventy-minute mark. This wasn't the case a few short years ago. It could almost be described as a serious part of the genre's aesthetic in 2018. This is certainly the case with Amarok and their album, Devoured–four-track record whose shortest song is over eleven minutes long.
This is the sort of brainy and epic doom that double gatefolds were built for. The sort of transcendent and powerful music that is the result of a scene feeding off itself, expanding, enhancing, and embracing exciting new ideas. What more could you want from this music that seems tailor-made to describe the end of all things? With Devoured, Amarok push towards bold new heights and their debut full length is a stylish coming out.
I remember discovering this band in high school when they did a split with Hell. I was very worried for a minute they were done. It's been five years since that split; a five-year gap with no new material from these California doom lords. In that time the genre started to shift, but it feels like in many ways it was almost catching up to Amarok. While I think it's undeniable to tie this band in with groups like Primitive Man or even Fister; it's important, in my eyes at least, to recognize that Amarok brings much more to the table than that.
Their melodic sensibilities are present from the first track, "VI Sorceress." The cosmic heaviness that hits on the chugs though is another beast entirely. Devoured shines because of its ability to capture different aesthetics with panache. That being said, the lack of clean vocals is a bit of a limiting factor, there are certain elements that need to be pushed further and in a world where this music is blowing up with more and more practitioners every day, differentiation is everything.
Amarok is certainly an interesting group of guys with a lot that they bring to the table. More than that they are a band who ebb and flow with their music, though the tracks are often supremely long, they really demand a lot of the listener and suggest new ways to expand and refine doom as a whole. I want to hear this band embracing their full potential and a lot of that might need to be contingent on them pushing the boundaries a bit further.
That all being said, this is a really interesting album and one that I think a lot of folks in this scene are going to fall in love with. On Devoured, Amarok paint an exciting picture of a band returning to ascension. Over the top and frequently thrilling, as much as Amarok might play into tropes they kill it every time, making for a thrilling sonic adventure.