Amaran - A World Depraved

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Listenable
Catalog Number: POSH038
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:18:00

Amaran are a new band out of Sweden that mix some potent styles of music with the female vocals of Johanna DePierre melted in with some not so traditional heavy metal musical signatures. Whilst I'd class the band musically as heavy metal, they have influences from death metal and extreme bands (without the speed or intensity) and a vocalist who'd fit nicely into a female fronted metal band ala Dreams of Sanity, Edenbridge, and The Gathering.

The album is good, above average in fact, but it's far from great. On the positive side is the mixture of music presented. Very rarely have a band managed a mosaic quite like this with elements of death metal (In Flames), doom metal (Anathema or My Dying Bride), and more traditional elements of classic heavy metal. A few extreme moments presented paint an aural image of Emperor but always the melodic vocals of Johanna mean that the album never jumps the chasm towards the heavier side of metal. It's an album that grows on me the more I listen to it and whilst usually I can make up my mind on an album pretty early, Amaran have created an indecisiveness in me where after many-a-listen I can still not criticise it heavily nor unrequitedly praise it.

The twin guitars of Ronnie Blackland and Kari Kainulainen create the majority of strange cross-breeding on this album and it's a mix that is fresh, indignant, and bolstered by the a tight, but oft-repetitive, rhythm section that attempt to balance out their sound though instead create some unoriginal melodies. You might be able to gather then that in the overall scheme of things A World Depraved sounds a little familiar throughout its 41 minutes. Whilst Johanna has a nice voice she can be monotonous in her delivery at times with a limited range. If you think of a more powerful but less exciting Astrid van der Veen (from Arjen Lucassen's side project Ambeon) then you have her voice. There is a definite lack in spark on the album but thankfully Amaran don't overcompensate by loading you up with long tracks. The short tracks makes for a better listening journey. There are a couple of not so brilliant tracks including the wandering "Daffodil" and the less than perfect "Imperfect" (although there are some great riffs here) but as imperfect as that song is they make up for it easily with tracks like "Void," "Little Victory," and "Karma In Flesh" which showcase Johanna's more than capable vocals.

Amaran have given us a very interesting album that is definitely worth listening to (although the cover is not so inviting). That said, I hope for a more polished album in the future to bring out the best of the band members.

Similar To: The Gathering, In Flames, Ambeon

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Faith Healer (4:24) / Rusy Warhorse (3:52) / Void (4:35) / Daffodil (4:21) / Lullaby (3:00) / Imperfect (4:37) / Little Victory (3:42) / Karma In Flesh (5:00) / Received A Kiss (3:45) / Ode (4:02)

Mikael Andersson - bass
Ronnie Backlund - guitar
Robin Bergh - drums
Johanna DePierre - vocals
Kari Kainulainen ? guitar

A World Depraved (2002)
Pristine In Bondage (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: November 26th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1036
Language: english


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