Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

September 14, 2011

The Amatory Murder ~ A Different Frequency

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Style: industrial, experimental, hard rock
Label: Void Industry
Year: 2011
Home: Brooklyn, New York

Members: Christian Peppas ~ vocals/keyboards/programming

O.T. Turbold ~ lead guitar
Marios Drakos ~ rhythm guitar

Additional: Michael Spivak ~ lead guitars/b. vocals

"Lately I've been thinking, all about myself, all the thinks I could do, without everyone else ... Let me tell you from now on, it's gonna be all about me, in this world of poison" comes a synthesized talking-singing voice opening up A Different Frequency with the highlight "All About Me", before taking a page from Trent Reznor's book & turning into a scream against a background of distorted rock guitars, electronic drums & background tinkling keyboards. It's hard not to pull up Reznor's name, something other critics of the AM have also done, as the majority of the tracks don't so much follow a different frequency as they instead cull strongly from the industrial heavy metal mold Reznor created with Nine Inch Nails. With Reznor's influence so at large & omnious over the decades it's hard for any band to just coincidentally sound like him so its hard to give the AM the benefit of the doubt. So, getting the obvious comparison out of the way quickly ... yes, the AM do sound like NIN, they do a very good job imitating Reznor's common vocal effects with uncanny imitation along with the the piano note drops in the middle of thrashing guitars, plus the AM excels at working with similiar narcissistic & lonely lyrical themes, such as "I communicate with my friends, still they're all alone, living in our heads ... Narcissistics who pretend, with the mask we make, just to compensate" from the title track. Though, NIN is far more stark, brutal & at times uncomfortably avant-garde. If you like the originator you'll like his student. The AM may sing about the same self-fashioned narcissm but doesn't come across as perversely lonely or demented, either musically or lyrically, as Reznor. If NIN was radio-friendly the result would be something on a different frequency much like the AM. Now, as for the AM on their own, outside of the obvious influences ... they do a good job of mixing together industrial beats & a landscape of sound with straight ahead power metal riffs. They also keep a lot of variety floating on the boards where one song will go from slow to fast ... or timid to fierce. Though, the band's strength is also their weakness. In 2010 an album was released by William Control called Noir, fans of that will probably enjoy the AM. It's a great album but there's basically only two songs on the album - an industrial electronic & an acoustic song - that just get repeated over & over in various permutations that don't stray too far from the original mold. By the end of the album you remember the first couple songs on the album that set the mold rolling, but you don't remember the final songs, or I should say you can't remember if the final songs are the first songs or what goes where as it all blends together. It's all pretty enjoyable but nothing makes you jump. There's a limited number of surprises & the variations are all too close for comfort. I've said in a lot of words which many critics often describe with the simpler 'lots of repetition.' This is the problem with the AM's A Different Frequency. The songs that open the record set up a mold that is followed religiously, not allowing enough songs to come out of the mix with their own personality. For example, the favorite arrangement features a slow verse with a fast chorus, or sometimes a slow chorus with a fast verse. But, after a while it all mixes together & it doesn't matter if the bridge is fast as the ear just hears fast then slow. As I hinted at earlier, that's the difference between the AM & Reznor. He'll surprise his listeners with moments where everything stops, or a song just moans like a crazy man in an asylum, while other times he'll just go full blast screetching away like cats in heat. The AM aims for a more radio friendly industrial metal that doesn't ever really go in either direction, but it would be interesting to hear more songs that are just slow or just fast or push beyond the radio-friendliness a bit ... or just don't require a fast break in the middle of a slow song. There's moments they come close. "Playdate" & "Souvenir Of Pain" average a bit more non-stop wild then the songs before it, while the second half of the album includes "She Says", "Eleanor" & "Leech" are all chilly stark Reznor-esque ballads, yet they also all have similiar wild breaks in the midst of the moaning. "Leech" is particularly stark & barren with just clouded vocals & soft keyboards & it would be interesting to hear more experimentation along these lines. Even the wild bit stays with a basic rhythm & only lets the anger out in one big flash that's more instrumental than anything versus a repetitive wild break. It's one of the best tracks on the album as a result & has one of the biggest personalities. It also is a song that jumps at the listener. Sadly, where the AM does develop out this theme it's in the two minute instrumental "A Lost Signal" followed by the "Leech"-like "Chelsea" that closes the album. Though, these sound like unfinished pieces that form a coda more than developed songs. But, at least the AM are getting there. Lyrically they're on target, the lyrics being one of the strongest parts of the album, musicially they're still searching. But, hey, it takes a while to find ... the perfect frequency.

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