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Amphetamin: A Forest Of Rainbows

With the follow up to their 2014 album, At The Dawn Of Twilight, French outfit Amphetamin move further through their day to discover A Forest Of Rainbows. Four-plus years may have passed but the band’s sound remains resolutely steeped in melancholy, a cross between Riverside and deep, dare I say depressive, 80s synth-pop very much the order of the day. Head to their Facebook page and the scant detail will tell you that the band members here are (and I quote…) Sebastian. You can’t have too much detail, eh? But scroll down the page and there’s a suggestion that Chris (who needs surnames?), the drummer from The Last Embrace, has also had a hand in the final recordings.

And credit to Sebastian, because he has created a seriously deep and dark affair with AFOR; an album more about mood and tone than the songs themselves, and while there is very little light to contrast the intentional gloom, there are still clever escapes from the thick rhythms and atmospheres. Tonally there’s a real progression across the twelve tracks served up, the opening quartet providing something of a journey as “Aether” begins in pensive style. Roaming bass lines and rolling toms set the scene for a biting but restrained guitar outburst, before “Aymarca (Festival Of The Dead)” takes a similar theme and adds a more urgent aspect. Mid song the gyrating guitars offer another similar but different mood, before “Kyrro (An Empty Space)” sits in an OMD meets Black corner and uneasily rocks itself to sleep. Finally in this opening foursome it’s Riverside who are brought to mind by the burrowing guitar line and surging synths of “Shapeshifter”.

Vocally Sebastian is contained and precise but with enough character to add life to the gloom, although things can become just a little seat of the pants when he really lets loose behind the mic. However, the trade off works well most of the time through the middle third of the album, the more electrically and riff fuelled “Medusa” forging a path that works eagerly towards the equally forceful “A Dream In Our Sky”, via the electro-shimmer of “Lull-a-bye (Interlude)” and “Hephaestus”.

Leaving the final foursome of the more traditionally progressive “Mazemerize” to head us back to the side of the river, before “Sad Eyes” and “Thelxinoe” challenge the senses via a mix of synthesised surges and organic pulses and beats. Whereas the lengthy closer,“Winter’s Heart”, brings back the more 80s inflected sounds alongside an eerie guitar melody that wouldn’t have gone amiss on a more recent Marillion album.

There’s a lot to take in on A Forest Of Rainbows and at times it can feel like Amphetamin might just be repeating themselves. Dig in deeper on subsequent listens however and the intricacies and subtle shifts of mood and intention can reveal a hidden heart that knows exactly how to reward your patience.

Track Listing
1. Aether
2. Ayamarca (Festival Of The Dead)
3. Kyrro (An Empty Space)
4. Shapeshifter
5. Medusa
6. Lull-a-bye (Interlude)
7. Hephaestus
8. A Dream In Our Sky
9. Mazemerize
10. Sad Eyes
11. Thelxinoe
12. Winter’s Heart

Added: January 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: A Forest Of Rainbows @ bandcamp
Hits: 2758
Language: english

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Amphetamin: A Forest Of Rainbows
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