I recently made an observation in one of my reviews about how infrequently I hear mention of our friends across the pond in Russia when it comes to metalheads jawin’ about noteworthy newcomers in our beloved genre. In my defense, I did attribute a chunk of reasoning to an unfortunate lack of promotion in the Western Hemisphere, but thanks once again to the same folks who brought us the recently reviewed, suitably rewarding Arcanar, we now have another choice band to further spotlight my brazen ignorance – Russia’s mightily impressive Amber Tears.
At its core, Revelation of Renounced delivers all the elements needed to land it squarely within the death/gloom camp populated by bands such as Daylight Dies and early Anathema: grand, sweeping tunes steeped in moodiness that never quite drop to a funeral crawl, but also hold from ever speeding off into full-on flailing attack as well. The record also flashes moments of boat-hurtling, Moonsorrow-esque gallantry, and even smidges of peppier Amorphis at times, especially within the exultant fretwork and fluted keyboards of “Under the Fields of Ages”. But what truly sets this young band apart from their peers is their unabashed reliance on loads of seriously melodic, flowy, bubbly guitar noodling, which gives the bulk of these ditties a very organic, unconstrained, relaxed feel. This accented, nimble guitar work is in turn wrapped within a rich tapestry of epic, spacious keyboard atmospherics that brings to mind the lofty ambience conveyed through Seventh Son era Iron Maiden, or passages from the aforementioned Moonsorrow. Where some young bands seem to struggle in figuring out how to effectively use keyboards in their work, Amber Tears seem to have uncovered the perfect formula for letting this instrument play a crucial roll in song development without effectively stealing the limelight from the ‘metal’ being delivered. The primary elements of lead guitar and keys play off one another on each and every tune displayed on Revelation of Renounced (minus the brief intro and outro), but are most effectively channeled through the excellent “Call of the Dreams”, “On the Way of Shadows”, and closing cut, “Snow”.
Amber Tears strikes true with the remaining elements at play as well, with one minor flaw left open for improvement. In the vocal department, most of the material centers on mid-ranged rasped/death cries, with occasional drifts into spoken word or sporadic whispers to better fit the album’s quieter, more melodic moments. They also thankfully choose to stick with their native tongue, which is something I definitely find refreshing, considering the scads of bands that end up mangling their lyrics through shabby English translations. Truthfully, the only real flaw I could find in Revelation of Renounced has to do with the rhythm section, and this probably has more to do with the album’s production, as opposed to the players at hand. Apart from the relatively simple yet ably executed drum work, the bass and rhythm guitar are occasionally left buried in the production and seem to play a relatively secondary role during portions of this record.
For those left interested, the band’s official website hides some relatively decent sounding samples on the front page, but you’ll have to be a bit crafty, as everything is written in Russian. Just look for the ‘Lo Fi/Hi Fi’ links down the entire length of the page and you should be well on your way. If it helps stoke the fires a bit, I can easily admit this record stands as one of the more enjoyable debuts I’ve heard yet this year, and it’s certainly done an effective job of landing Amber Tears and their country on my ‘to keep a close watch on’ list. Definitely recommended.