REVIEW: Amethyst - "Flames In Eternity"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Flames In EternityAmethyst hails from down under and has popped out their self-released LP, Flames In Eternity, on their own following their 1998 Stay EP. Formed by core members Liz Galea and George Larin (vocals & guitars respectively), the two were later joined by Nestor Melone (drums) and Tim Stalman (Bass). On their Flames In Eternity release they also receive from help from Evan Harris (Bass) and Endel Rivers (keyboard, engineer), these two not being parts of the band but filling in. It seems after a long arduous bassist hunt, they've settled on Tim.

Prior to the forming of Amethyst a few years ago, George and Evan were members of Taramis, an early to mid nineties technical metal group that built up a bit of a following for a while. Amethyst are just breaking out onto the live scene, with performances at radio station benefits and upcoming festivals, though no details are available yet. Spurred on by their large draw at their last show, you can expect to see them pounding the bush and cropping up around Australia over the course of recent future. Also watch for their upcoming video to Flesh on Canada's Much Music Network. Flesh is a track off of Flames In Eternity.

The music of Amethyst is straightforward metal with a blues rock background and comes out sounding like a bit of a throwback to a bygone era - at least here on my side of the pond. While I'm not sure I can say that they were influenced by past groups of the glam-metal genre being from Australia, I can clearly see them being compared to (and in some cases already mistaken for) Warrant, Dokken, Slaughter, Iron Maiden and like mid-80s American and British glam-rock and metal outfits. The CD jacket lists the tracks a bit out of order, troublesome to a reviewer, but because the songs are distinguishable one from another without all sounding alike (which was a problem with some of those aforementioned bands) I was able to work past that.

You'll find your standard sexual innuendos, power ballads, love songs, story-telling bad-ass style lyrics and heavy riffs that you would expect from metal. Liz's vocals are strong and do not sound like they're coming from a female at all, which will throw you off. Definitely not your standard diva vocalist, similar stylistically to some of the better male singers of the genre. Production and engineering are top notch and the musicians are tight and in control with highlight funky guitar solos, tight percussion and bass combinations that reminds me somehow of Steve Harris of Iron Maiden.

Highlight tracks of Flames In Eternity include Stay, a slow ballad with excellent strumming guitar boxes that step into very powerful riff work that are moving and include some great keyboard work in the background by engineer Endel. Silent One is a smooth and bluesy storytelling song with your standard metal hero mistreated by the rest of the world (a'la Iron Man). The Archer provides a fine, albeit short, break with an instrumental and wavy piece of fluff in between power chords.

Overall? Amethyst's metal is not much different from the British and American heavy metal movement of the 80s and early 90s before grunge and alterna-rock took over the scene here, so you might say it might have a bit of a dated sound. It's not groundbreaking or new, but it doesn't pretend to be. They are good at what they do, which is jamming out straight metal the way it used to be before the big labels like Geffen got hold of it and shat it back out with too much makeup on.

Contact Information:
Post: Amethyst, P.O. Box 486, Thomastown, Victoria, 3083, Australia

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