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TRACK LIST: 1. Falling of the Edge 6:29 2. Momentum 7:05 3. Counter Attack 8:51 4. Mindless Trust 7:30 5. Apollo & Daphne 8:54 6. A Dark Soul 9:07 7. Balance 6:19 8. Stronger Than Before 9:42 LINEUP: Rien Fierst – keyboards; vocals Marco de Neijs – guitars Frans Ellinger – bass Senne Bergsma – drums Chris Henny – vocals; guitars
Prolusion. The Dutch band AHMSHERE can trace their roots back to the end of 2006, although it wasn't until the start of 2012 that the band had a stable line-up. At that point they hit the recording studio to record old, new and reworked material for their debut album, "Mindless Trust", which was self-released by the band in January 2013. Since then the band almost broke up, but is a going concern again these days, now as a four man strong unit.
Analysis. It is fairly evident that the material Ahmshere recorded for their debut album has been developed for some time. While they don't bring anything new to the table, and there are certain flaws, or at least less than perfect details at hand, the end result is still a compelling one. One of the intriguing aspects of this production is which box they should be compared towards. They have plenty of atmospheric, mellow sequences in their compositions, where light toned mellow guitar details, Mellotron (or at least Mellotron inspired textures) and smooth keyboard textures dominate in what I'd describe as a Camel sort of way. On the other hand this is a band that enjoys their organ and guitar riff combinations too, both in a more retro oriented heavy prog kind of way as well as in a grittier, progressive metal oriented nature. Although the guitar riffs are generally more dampened than what you'd encounter on a progressive metal album, but with a different arrangement and with a different mix there are passages here that could be presented as bona fide progressive metal. Add in textured keyboard arrangements in a more neo progressive oriented manner as a further detail alongside swirling keyboard escapades with a stronger similarity to 70's symphonic progressive rock, and even a few instances of distinctly jazz rock oriented escapades, and pigeonholing this band inside a box more defined than progressive rock does become a tad difficult. In general the compositions at hand don't come across as challenging experiences though, despite the variety. While the individual song may visit rather different sounding moods and stylistic directions it all comes across as cohesive and tends to stay accessible as well. The material depends on contrasts and layered arrangements to maintain interest, and does so very well indeed, too. Mix and production isn't of the highest standard however, so ardent audiophiles better look elsewhere for their entertainment. The detail that suffers most are the vocals. While lead vocalist Henry has a fine and controlled voice he doesn't yet have the talent to carry a song, at least as I experience his vocals, although the recording quality may have something to do with that as well. be that as it may be, the way the vocals are placed in the mix doesn't come across extremely well, giving a superficial impression of vocals that are somewhat flat and lifeless. If you listen closely you'll realize that this isn't actually the case, but I still suspect that if the vocals had been given a less prominent role in the final mix the end result would have been better. Still, this is a good album that showcases a skilled band. Perhaps a tad lacking in the technical department, and the cover art might have been better suited for a psychedelic oriented band, but for those who have an ear for good music this is an enjoyable progressive rock production indeed.
Conclusion. Ahmshere's debut album "Mindless Trust" is one of those productions that contains too much variety to easily fit within a detailed specified subgenre, but the music is undeniably progressive rock. They blend inspirations from the 70's and 80's into a nice and accessible stew, and if I should take a shot in terms of specific recommendations here I'd guess that fans of bands like Spock's Beard and Magic Pie should find this production to merit a closer check.
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