Album Review: Amahiru Releases Debut Album

Amahiru releases debut album
Frédéric Leclercq and SAKI

There is a new band on the scene and their name is Amahiru.  The band is the brainchild of Frédéric Leclercq (Dragonforce / Kreator) and SAKI (Mary’s Blood / NEMOPHILA). They recently completed their self-titled debut album, Amahiru. Leclercq and SAKI are joined on the album by Archie Wilson – Vocals, Coen Janssen (Epica) – Keyboards, and Mike Heller (Fear Factory / Raven) – Drums. 

Amahiru is a rollercoaster ride featuring hard driving Rock which lifts the listener, building up potential energy, and then converting this stored energy into a kinetic rush of pure Metal.  Periodic lulls allow the listener to catch their breath.  It combines Western Rock and Metal style guitar and drums with Oriental drums, woodwinds, and guitar tones.

Leclercq reflects about the band, “I’m influenced by many artists, pretty much anything I hear I can consider an influence and music should be the reflection of that. With Amahiru, I personally wanted to do something groovy and melodic and still metal/hard rock. We didn’t want to make 12 songs sounding the same. SAKI and I have a lot in common musically and it was really easy to work together in the same direction.” 

The album gets off to a solid start with the first four songs, “Innocent”, “WTTP”, “Hours” and “Way Out”. Each feature powerful vocals by Wilson and strong rhythm and lead guitar work by Leclercq and SAKI. The Oriental influence is felt immediately with a momentary dab of Japanese strings at the intro of “Innocent”. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Ninja No Tamashii” is the first of three instrumental tracks on the album. It starts off at a slow pace with a piano intro combined with Japanese strings and Shakuhachi flute play by Japanese virtuoso Kifu Mitsuhashi. The song gradually builds in intensity until the guitars kick in accompanied by a dramatic tempo increase. Leclercq lays down a driving rhythm with SAKI playing lead over the top which continues for most of the song. The two guitars complement each other very well. This reminds me of a song you might hear in a fight scene from a Naruto episode.

“Vanguard” has a Metallica vibe to it and is the most Metal style track on the album.  “Bring Me Down” is a Rock track with 80’s style guitar intro. There are two versions of this song on the album.  One with Mike Heller playing drums and one with the late Sean Reinert, who passed away in January, on drums.

 “Waves” is the second instrumental track.  It’s a slow tempo song showing Leclercq and SAKI’s melodic guitar playing. This song allows the listener to catch their breath before the next song, “Samurai”. This track starts with a rapid-fire drum intro by Heller.  It is a perfect song for the Mosh Pit.  There is a prolonged guitar solo featuring major shredding by SAKI.

The album closes out with the third instrumental track, “Zombi”.  This song spotlights each of the musician’s talents.  Heller starts the song off showcasing his drumming skills with Leclercq playing a staccato chord progression over the top. There is a short interlude filled with Japanese percussion and more Shakuhachi flute by Mitsuhashi. Janssen gets to highlight his keyboard playing over Leclercq’s rhythm guitar. SAKI continues showing her lead guitar skills.

This is a strong debut album by Amahiru. Wilson’s vocals and the bands musical prowess are a perfect fit. The Japanese have been enamored with Western culture for years.  This has been reciprocated by Westerners in recent times due to a fascination of certain elements of Japanese culture like Anime and Manga.  The oriental sound of this album will appeal to the younger Anime Generation while the overall sound will appeal to Rock and Metal enthusiasts. After listening to this album, Amahiru will be a band I want to see live once the current pandemic ends. Amahiru’s self-titled debut will be released on November 27 on earMUSIC.

AMAHIRU TRACK LISTING:

  1. “Innocent”
  2. “WTTP”
  3. “Hours”
  4. “Way Out”
  5. “Ninja No Tamashii”
  6. “Vanguard”
  7. “Bringing Me Down”
  8. “Lucky Star” (Feat. Elize Ryd)
  9. “Waves”
  10. “Samurai”
  11. “Bringing Me Down (Feat. Sean Reinert) [Alternative Version]
  12. “Zombi” (Bonus Track)

AMAHIRU ARE:

Frédéric Leclercq — Rhythm and Lead Guitar + Bass Guitar (Dragonforce)

SAKI — Lead Guitar (Mary’s Blood)

Archie Wilson — Vocals

Coen Janssen — Keys (Epica)

Mike Heller — Drums (Fear Factory / Raven)

Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

What do you think about this album? Comment below.

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