Amon-Sethis - Part II: The Final Struggle (Own Label)

Exciting storytellers from France...

French progressive metallers Amon-Sethis return with the second part of, I think, a six part series rooted in the myths and traditions of Ancient Egypt, and very good it is too.

Although this whole thing has been done to death  - from Rainbow, through Dio and Iron Maiden to Nile, seemingly everyone who’s anyone (and a lot of no ones too) has had a go at unveiling the mysteries of the pyramids via the gift of heavy metal – Amon-Sethis attack the whole thing with vigour and no little songwriting skill, making Part II… one of the most engaging and entertaining albums I’ve had the pleasure of encountering all year.

Musically, the album is a mixed bag to say the least. Opening spoken word track Prelude to Chaos reeks of Orphaned Land, whilst second track Shadow the Light bears all the hallmarks of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son-era Iron Maiden; but when the band hits its stride and finds its own voice – from around third track Pharoah’s Army onwards – what we have is some very solid, at times inspired symphonic metal. Vocalist Julien Tournoud has a pleasantly distinctive voice,  at times coming across like Brian Molko of Placebo (if little Brian had grown up listening to Ronnie James Dio rather than David Bowie, that is); This isn’t as disconcerting as it sounds, as his voice carries a melody well and is without that sort of identikit singing tone so many Euro vocalists in this field adopt, giving the voice a nice personality of its own that, on the likes of best tracks Hope and Eyes of the Sun, really comes into its own. 

But Tournoud isn’t the only vocalist here, as the band employ several other vocalists to help them tell their tales of sun and steel – unfortunately the digital copy of the album I received is sketchy in it’s detail as to who does what so I can’t go into specifics here – giving the whole album something of a metal opera feel in certain places, especially the twenty five minute long title track which is a real tour de force, never once allowing the listener’s interest to drop as it weaves it’s way through several disparate movements. This is ambitious and perfectly executed stuff, with a sound and vision several leagues above the band’s unknown station.

Hopefully as the story unfolds this band will become more and more well known in metal circles, as I for one am now keen to hear how this story ends. Here’s to part III!

Part II: The Final Struggle is out now.