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Pristine In Bondage
January 2004
Released: 2004, Listenable Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Wow... now we have a pretty damn unusual musical concept here. The Swedish technical metallers Amaran has a female singer named Johanna DePierre in their line-up who actually can sing a very fine and entertaining way whereas the band´s music is basically based on some powerful, melodic and heavy riff-orientated metal that crosses the border on the both side of a more traditional – and a modern sounding Thrash Metal. Sounds like a bit weird combination indeed, but the more you listen to Amaran´s 2nd full-length album, the more it starts to open up for a listener, I guess.

For my loss, I think, I haven´t heard the band´s debut album titled A WORLD DEPRAVED that saw the light of day in 2002, also released through Listenable Records. In other words, don´t ask me how can this new album from them be compared to their debut as I have no idea...

However, as I mentioned a bit earlier, Amaran´s brave attempt to combine Johanna´s beautiful and kind of ´soft´ vocal parts (at times!) with pounding and sharp walls of guitars, Robin´s relatively technical, but a heavy drum work and spicing the whole thing by very captivating and catchy melody sections, has turned out to be quite a success for them indeed. To have a female fronting a metal band nowadays, hardly is any stunning news to anyone any longer, but to have a female vocalist in a hard-sounding metal band like Amaran is, makes it always a bit more ´special´ thing all in all.

Johanna´s voice fits in Amaran´s world of heavily thrashing metal songs very nicely, adding its own specific contrast into the band´s thoroughly heavy atmospheres of the songs (check out such songs as f.ex. “Revolution without Arms”, “Coming Home” and “ ) and I really how they have blended her voice into the songs arrangements as a part of tight wholeness. Also Amaran´s guitar duo Kari and Ronnie seem to have a few ´aces´ constantly in their sleeves as far as both of the guys´ damn intense, clever and occasionally even very technical guitar work is concerned. Sounds like they have two somewhat gifted and ambitious riff masters in the band, so that´s definitely a cool thing for them. They have also come up with some really tasteful and memorable leads in some of their songs that oddly brought both Locicero´s and Calvert´s lead works in Forbidden in my mind back in the day (for those lead works, just go listen to such tunes as “Inflict” and “24 Pills” as examples in order to understand a bit more my references to Forbidden´s direction on PRISTINE IN BONDAGE).

What´s the best, all the 10 songs on the band´s strong follow-up album sound equally good and well-done. And that´s one of the most important factors on PRISTINE IN BONDAGE why it ain´t that easy to throw it away from your CD –player and replace it by some other album once you have placed it into there. Therefore the only thing I can do for you is to recommend you to check Amaran´s strong, 2nd album out.
Track Listing

01. Atropine
02. Revolution without Arms
03. Coming Home
04. Inflict
05. Without Stains
06. Katharsis
07. 24 Pills
08. Wraith
09. Crow Me
10. Primal Nature


Johanna DePierre – Vocals
Kari Kainulainen – Guitar
Ronnie Backlund – Guitar
Ronnie Bergenståhl – Bass
Robin Bergh – Drums

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