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Amendfoil - "Act Of Grace" (CD/EP)

Amendfoil - "Act Of Grace" CD/EP cover image

"Act Of Grace" track listing:

1. Lotus
2. Aegis
3. Oblivion
5. Calm

Reviewed by on August 26, 2010

"The band would've been better served by going with a single vocal approach for each song — or at least each section within a song — rather than having Maki-Kala singing and screaming in different styles at the drop of a hat."

When a band can do a variety of styles well, there's a temptation to try to do them all at once. That's both a blessing and a curse on Amendfoil's "Act Of Grace."

You'll hear playing and singing that harkens toward everything from power metal to grunge and metalcore, sometimes within the same song. It's to the band's credit that they often make it work. But, when it doesn't work, it's a disjointed experience.

The EP's opener, "Lotus" begins with clean, slow guitars from Lassi Maki-Kala and Juho Pelttari, which build into a slow, distorted chug and then combine elements of both. Maki-Kala's vocals are equal parts Alice In Chains and Shadows Fall here, and it works better than you'd think.

"Aegis" speeds things up, with Maki-Kala's vocals approaching an operatic power metal style before sliding into a death growl. The song loses steam at the end with a scream-and-instrumental breakdown that doesn't really go anywhere. I like parts of "Ire," the disc's third track, but the back-and-forth between vocal styles doesn't work, despite a pretty good chorus.

Drummer Samu Honko puts on an excellent performance in the next track, "Oblivion," which alternates between super-speedy death metal and straight thrash in the chorus. He also handles the numerous speed changes in the instrumental sections well. The disc's closer, "Calm" is a good track, and I liked how it lived up to its name, gradually slowing at the end.

My biggest problem with the disc lies with the vocals. The band would've been better served by going with a single vocal approach for each song — or at least each section within a song — rather than having Maki-Kala singing and screaming in different styles at the drop of a hat. As it is, a couple of the songs feel quite disjointed. Still, I have to say, that on tracks like "Lotus" and "Calm," the band pulls it off pretty well.

Amendfoil's "Act Of Grace" shows off plenty of playing and singing talent, but the band still has a little bit to learn about crafting unified songs. If their next album is full of tracks like "Lotus," I'll be the first in line to buy it.

Highs: "Lotus" and "Calm"

Lows: A tendency, especially in the vocals, to try to force too many styles into a single song.

Bottom line: A talented band, but one that needs to create more unified songs.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)