Many choose to play metal, but it’s only a dedicated few who actually are metal. It’s the fanatical, die-hard devotion to the cause that sets these genuine metal maniacs apart; it’s the spirit of metal madness that flows through them. And in London’s AMULET you have five such individuals, all proudly banging like maniacs in the name of all that’s good and heavy metal.
Their debut EP, 2011’s ‘Cut The Crap’ 7”, was a nails-hard statement of intent. With the brawling street spirit of early 80’s metal – think of Iron Maiden’s days in rough boozers rather than sports stadiums – AMULET capture the sound of classic metal, but more importantly, they bring the feeling of fist-to-the-chops-and-don’t-spill-my-pint grit firmly into the 21st century.
And what else would you expect from a band formed of such die-hard underground metal fanatics? Since 2010, the men of AMULET have been proudly flying the flag for British steel, both onstage and off. Guitarist Heathen Steven is the man who helped set up London’s Live Evil Festival in 2010 – run with support of Darkthrone drummer Fenriz – to showcase the best of what the underground scene has to offer. Singer Jamie Elton has spent his entire adult life recording metal bands and putting on gigs by underground legends like Pagan Altar and Cloven Hoof before the retro resurgence took flight. Drummer ‘Dave Sherwood on Drums’, meanwhile, is something of an UK mascot for passionate fandom internationally. And then there’s incredible shred-king Nippy Blackford on guitar, who has been burning the frets since the ‘90s and adds some truly exceptional flare to the album. Finally Bill Dozer not only channels Cronos on four strings, but works as a respected tattoo artist while creating all of AMULET’S artwork - including the incredible painting made for the cover of their debut, ‘The First’.
Recorded and mixed by Jamie Elton – in the same DIY way that many of the NWOBHM era’s groups worked – ‘The First’ is a heavy rocking metal monster. With the groove of Sabbath, the spirit of Priest and the volume of Motörhead - with a bit of early-Maiden’s right-hook thrown in - it’s forged of the same fire, but somehow not sounding like any other act, being minted firmly in 2014. The rush of songs like “Glint Of The Knife” and “Mark Of Evil” is pure head-banging fury, while “The Sacrifice” is a stomper to pump your fist in the air. The middle section is fantastically dynamic with a sense of a journey and story-telling subtlety.
What AMULET deliver – both on ‘The First’ and at gigs like their lauded performances at Bloodstock Open Air, Muskelrock Sweden and Germany’s Hell’s Pleasure fest – is something more than music. It’s the honest spirit of heavy metal. The joy that comes from having this stuff fired at you by people who believe, unwaveringly, in just how important and powerful it is. And on this form, AMULET could be made of the most powerful metal of all.