The Maze Of DestinyLABEL:
2010COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Personnel unlisted.TRACK LISTING:
01 Mirrored Sky * 02 Through The Maze * 03 Tomorrow's Eyes * 04 Taken Away * 05 The Passenger * 06 Shelter * 07 The Last Prophecy * 08 Abstract Of Mind * 09 The Trespasser * 10 Executor * 11 AcceptanceRATING:
For many readers of this site, Kansas City will bring to mind memories of past AOR greats such as Shooting Star
among others. On occasion, the midwest locale has also offered up harder fare, such as Patriarch
and recent Retrospect Records signings Amethyst. The latter band formed in 1986 and were according to Retrospect's bio, an amalgam of Queensryche
and Crimson Glory
. Being a fan of both bands in their earlier days, it was an easy decision to seek out Amethyst's album, the band so entrenched in the mid 80's era that looking beyond the 80's was a hard ask, but Amethyst did indeed do just that - 'Maze Of Destiny' rearing its head during the 1990-1992 period.
Amethyst do not intend to dazzle with flight of fancy guitarwork, but instead pull their audience in with deep and intense music. The comparison to the aforementioned bands is very accurate, though of course they don't carry the same production ideals. Interesting that Amethyst start out with the slow/plodding arrangement 'Mirrored Sky', not exactly the sort of tune to blow punters away on the first listen. The same could be said for the next track 'Through The Maze', waltzing through the slow lane despite the layers of apparent melody. Things start picking up on 'Tomorrows Eyes', though by mid-song their tendency to keep things at less than half pace is starting to become annoying by now. 'Taken Away' veers toward Fates Warning
's style of prog, and is clean and precise. I liked the ideas on display with 'The Passenger', the twin guitar work, the fantastic solo work, and the backing layers make this one of the album's better tracks. 'Shelter' is a mostly acoustic track but it flows majestically, but on 'The Last Prophecy', Amethyst finally start showing their true colours, an excellent musical encounter with variety all over the place. 'Abstract Of Mind' takes us back to an early 80's form of American metal, it's kinda raw and has a certain bit of charm too. The unusually titled 'The Trespasser' is another deeply melodic track, the introductory acoustic guitars sound as if they've been processed through multiple reverb units. They eventually make way for a melting pot of metal, in the vein of Fifth Angel
in their heyday. 'Executor' is another song to have an early 80's metal sound, the echoed vocals and the chugging guitars reminiscent of too many bands from the era. Lovely acoustics precede the closing 'Acceptance', and it essentially finishes up the way the album started.. in slow mode.
This may be thinking mans metal, but with the tempo operating on slower side of the halfway mark, I came away with too much time to think! Amethyst had some good things going for them, and I believe it was a good decision for Retrospect to pick this up, considering the corner of the HM market they have attained for themselves. If Queensryche
circa 'The Warning' or debut album Crimson Glory
is your bag, then Amethyst might very well on your shopping list.
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