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Swaying to an unforeseeable current - 90%

Byrgan, December 3rd, 2010

Amen Corner delves into longer pathways with their second full length, as the overall time took on more length due to a step-by-step construction and expansion of their slower tendencies. The speed passes by your senses with such gradual accumulation, that you're able to take in all of the little black details and specific, morbid scenery compared the next group in extreme metal who would rather put on the rabbit ears and race to the finish.

The production got a little more cleaned up, not that the debut and EP weren't loud, but the surface is more smoothed out and the instruments are fully separated. For a black metal recording, there's no racket to be found here: the drums are level and recorded with each hit getting its share of projection; the vocals find themselves with a pronounced tone but with effects to blend with the rest; and the guitars have distortion but not the coarse kind that would easily sandpaper your carpentry.

"Jachol Ve Tehila" is Amen Corner producing their own individual brand of music. They had tons of engrossing energy and their own moments of personality and originality since the beginning, but their influences are more blended and the previous style is morphed into something that the everyday listener wouldn't initially relate to black metal. The vocals are indeed hoarse and raspy, and frequently use a screaming head-voice that's full of tortured, dark emotion. Occasionally there's cleaner tones that escape the grotesque ones. "Lamentation and Praise" uses a melancholic mumbling technique over the guitars dishing out a simplistic and morose sounding lead. "The Cult of the Pagan Gods" breaks the ice with a short narration piece over wind and wind chimes. And others have select moments that will momentarily conjure up sounds that are reminiscent of loathing poltergeists to enrapture your senses from yet another angle.

The music isn't going for an all-out aggressive nature as the band incorporates subtlety to their song writing and builds most moments instead of forcing your ears into them. Some sections might be simplistically strummed or lightly palm muted and have a sound that borders on rock as the specific notes might be higher placed and less in your face. There's melody with some rhythms, harmony with some solos, repose with their acoustics. They still flex a muscle with certain heavy inducing sections that pick you up and throw you around in midpace, though there's no blasts or faster thrash speeds anywhere in sight. The band revs the engine and gives torque to thick strings pumping out basic chug and chord variations as well. The double bass pedals generally pop up in at least one way, shape or form, such as producing little clicks in between a calmer moment and then uniting the mallets together for a steady thumping when another stacks on the beef.

The song writing on "Jachol Ve Tehila" takes on the personality of tough and cool. The band has tactics that corner your senses and also yield to pensive methods that will sneak its dark will through your ear and then creep further to infect your brain. There are a number of bands that have conflicts with the combination as they might do one better than the other, but Amen Corner is quite effective with it as the gradual pacing acts as a go-between.