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Review: Amoth - The Hour of the Wolf
The Hour of the Wolf

Label: Rockshots Records
Year released: 2022
Duration: 46:35
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Progressive

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: December 14, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
The Hour of the Wolf

Rated 4.59/5 (91.76%) (17 Votes)

Amoth are a prog-tinged act from Finland that aren’t very well known despite being around for over a decade and already having a couple of prior full-lengths under their belt. I’m unfamiliar with any of their previous output, so I can’t really say if their lack of notoriety was previously warranted or just a side effect of being in a country not often known for their style of music. Having given their latest album some time, however, I can say that at the very least, they deserve some major attention now.

I’m generally skeptical of anything prog-related, often finding it indulgent and irritating in the extreme, but on The Hour of the Wolf, Amoth take the mystical underground sound of old-school acts like Sacred Oath and ooolllddd Queensrÿche and mix it with that smooth, catchy school of Prog Rock akin to Rush or maybe mid-period Kansas, leading to a vintage sound whose accessibility belies its fierce complexity. The latter is most evident with the shimmering riffs and open vocal lines of album opener "Alice" and the neoclassical stylings of the two-part instrumental "Wind Serenade", but even the more aggressive and direct tracks like the advance single "The Man Who Watches the World Burn" and the hammering "It Ain’t Over Yet" display plenty of deceptively intricate playing and song structures to go along with the old-school ownage. They do display the prog tendency to go on longer than they need to, but it’s never overwhelming or irritating, coming across more like a band that’s so excited to play their music that they get carried away from time to time.

The musicianship is excellent throughout, capable of being complex without coming across as showy or distracting, but the real highlight of the band is singer Pekka Montin, who sounds somewhere between Geoff Tate in his smoother moments and maybe Rob Halford when he gets harsher. He might not be quite as good as either singer, and he’s sometimes saddled with awkward vocal lines when using his lower register, but his performance goes a long way in selling the classic feel the album is going for and making a convert out of me despite my initial skepticism.

I don’t know if their older works are comparable in the slightest, but with this release, Amoth have made themselves a pretty hefty contender in the scene, and we’ll be hearing a lot more about them if there’s any justice in the world. If you want something that’s retro as hell while also being classy and refined, then The Hour of the Wolf is an album to treasure.

Other related information on the site
Review: The Hour of the Wolf (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with guitarist Tomi Ihanamäki, bassist Anne Lanttola and vocalist Pekka Montin on December 15, 2021 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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