Founded four years ago in Greece, Amniac is a four-piece playing a mix of doom, sludge and post-hardcore. 'Infinite' is their first full length album and their second output after a live-recorded demo, named 'Dias Xela Leurc'. In short, 'Infinite' is a pretty welcome change from most sludge albums we've reviewed at Merchants of Air. Amniac does not seem to suffer from the 'sludge problem' we often encounter and that's a huge plus.
First, let me explain the 'sludge problem': Most bands try to create riffs as powerful, doomy and solid as possible and throw some hardcore vocals over the already overwhelming music, resulting in utter chaos. Most sludge bands would be better off with clean vocals or, when they choose to be underground, with death metal grunts. Others should better continue as an instrumental band. Now I know, the sludge problem is something personal but it does make most bands sound the same, and for some bands all the songs sound the same as well, resulting in a genre that easily tires.
Amniac on the other hand takes the music to another level, incorporating influences from bands like Isis, Neurosis and Tool. Here too the typical sludge vocals are being used but they're mixed a bit further into the background, making them sound as an atmospheric instrument in stead of some extra noise. The seven tracks (actually five songs and two short pieces) on this album are actually well written doom-songs with a lot of complexity and variation.
Vocals are used only when needed, when they fill a void that the instruments and riffs can't fill at that moment. From a songwriting point of view 'Infinite' reaches excellence, taking us back to a time before sludge doom was a trend, a time where Isis was a very succesful band in stead of a bunch of desert terrorists. I wouldn't be surprised if these Greeks have built up a lot of experience before founding Amniac. They too work with these typical powerful riffs but blend them into quite intricate song structures, giving the whole a progressive feel as well as a hint of traditional doom. Once in a while influences from modern day doom bands like Yob shine through and that is a great evolution for a band like Amniac.
So in all, we're dealing with a sludge/doom band that seems to look further than most bands do today. They leave room for experiment and evolution without forgetting about the roots of their genres. 'A System Waiting to Fail' is probably my favourite track on the album, mainly because of the excellent riffing. But the other songs are worthy of being on this debut as well. Personally, I'm quite curious where this band will be heading to in the future. They have the tools and the talent to take the entire post-hardcore scene into a better future, all they need is followers...