Amber Tears (Янтарные Слезы) - Ключ К Декабрю (Key To December) (CD)

pagan / doom metal, BadMoodMan Music, BadMoodMan Music
350.00 Р
Price in points: 700 points
BMM. 040-10 x
In stock
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The long-awaited second album of the most famous Russian pagan/doom metal band Amber Tears being one of the best representatives of Russian pagan scene. Having started their way as followers of the cult Belorussian band Gods Tower Amber Tears demonstrate their own unique face at the second album “A Key for December”. Basing on folk motives and lyrics featuring folk tradition the musicians added doom death metal elements with all their slowness and weight to their music. The Russian traditional musical instrument gusli appearing on the album underlines the mental connection of Amber Tears work with traditional Russian music which is organically fused with modern melodic doom metal features. This album is indeed a milestone!

Tracklist:
1 Интро (Ключ К Декабрю)
2 Бесконечность Серых Дней
3 От Солнца Прочь
4 За Край Небес
5 Когда Растает Снег
6 Тихим Ручьем
7 Печаль Серых Холмов
8 Сквозь Снега

Artist:
Amber Tears (Янтарные Слезы)
Artist Country:
Russia
Album Year:
2010
Title:
Ключ К Декабрю (Key To December)
Style:
pagan / doom metal
Format:
CD
Type:
CD Album
Package:
Jewel Case
Label:
BadMoodMan Music
Cat No:
BMM. 040-10
Release Year:
2010
Country Of Manufacture:
Russia
Review
Doom-metal.com
25.01.2011

From Russia with despair...

First and foremost, I have to admit that after the intro (which finds itself filled with background voices smothered in ambience and atmospheric keyboards) slipped past to begin this album, I had momentarily thought that I may have accidentally put on one of my Draconian albums instead of the Amber Tears album I was supposed to be listening to. As it turns out, I was incorrect... but all in the same, it wasn't a far fetched moment of confusion.

Now, before I go any further, I have to say that I'm not in any way trying to put this band down. Although in a very similar Gothic Death Doom vein to Draconian, they still hold their own quite well and not every track is the same formulaic process as the last, which can often be seen in the aforementioned sub-genre. Plus, unlike Draconian, Amber Tears do not have female vocals here, which I think helps the album flow better (I, myself, have no problem with female vocals, but I never cared much for them in the Gothic Doom albums that I've heard).

One unique thing that my ears picked up (and also judging by other people's thoughts, I'm not alone here) is that, from time to time, the guitar tone is almost identical to the sound of bagpipes. I'm not sure how everyone will take that, but I think it sounds awesome and definitely adds a slightly different level to the music they're putting forth.

As far the as the album as a whole goes, you do have a good, healthy dose of melancholy-filled lead guitar parts (they come off as having a very depressing aura and being despair-driven, as it's often the case with this style of music) over atmospheric keyboard sections and steady drum patterns (the drumwork, in fact, albeit competent, doesn't really deviate much from merely setting the pace of the tracks. There aren't any real interesting patterns or fills minus a few small moments, but that too isn't all too common in this style. I will say that, while it doesn't really further enhance the band's sound, it doesn't take away from it either), with the occasional use of acoustic guitar sections and a mixture of growled and clean (which are sometimes almost in a spoken fashion) vocals. The sixth and final tracks on the album ('Тихим ручьем - Like a Silent Stream', 'Печаль серых холмов - Gray Hill's Sadness' and 'Сквозь снега - Through the Snows') have a very folk-ish, Agalloch feel to them, which I find to be fantastic sounding. At times, though, it doesn't help that I don't speak even the slightest bit of Russian, so the vocals from a lyrical standpoint mean absolutely nothing to me, unless I were to look up the translation somewhere. Even with that distance between me and the intimacy of the lyrical work, I really enjoy Anton's clean vocal work (And find that his death growls occasionally remind me of the frontman from Hail Of Bullets).

All in all, I would say that, even if you aren't a huge fan of the whole Gothic/Romantic Death Doom subgenre, I would give these guys a listen. As I've mentioned, it's not the same recipe throughout and if you like your music dripping with melancholy and bits of despair, but not quite reaching the Funeral Doom landscapes, this may be right up your alley. 'Key To December' is sure to hold its own amongst its contemporaries.

Author: Jon Carr
Review
Doom Mantia
7/10
08.03.2011

Without a doubt, Russia is the most productive country when it comes to churning out doom metal releases. The main culprits behind this mass production of doom is Solitude Productions and Badmoodman Records who do an incredible job at packaging the albums and releasing quality recordings. You never hear bad production from any of the bands on these labels so they have to be applauded for their high standards. The downside is most of the bands all sound the same and here is another one, Amber Tears. Don't get me wrong though, this band is very good just as many other bands from Russia but originality doesn't seem to account for much for these Russians. Amber Tears call their style pagan-doom which is weird as I don't hear nothing 'pagan' about this album. The band play a typical, generic death-gothic-doom style in the vein of My Dying Bride, Amorphis, Anathema and Draconian but musically, this band is flawless. Some of you may remember an album called "Revelations of Renounced" released by Stygian Crypt Productions in 2006, well this is the same band. To be honest I had thought they must have split but they are indeed still going. "Key to December" has great packaging to go along with the excellent, top-notch production but it is all sung in Russian with Russian lyrics printed in the booklet so it is very unlikely this band will ever break out of the Russian doom scene.

While the lyrics are in Russian, it doesn't hurt the listening experience however but I have no clue what any of these songs are about and that is a major gripe for me personally. I like to get to know an album in every detail so taking the lyrical concepts is a bit irritating. It is lucky for them, the music is at least atmospheric and engaging. Amber Tears play a slow, death-doom with a blend of spoken and deathly vocals. They also blend in acoustic interludes, melodic keyboards, backing female vocals to further enhance the atmosphere. You are probably thinking about now that the description I just gave sounds like a million other goth-doom bands and you be right. There is no surprises here at all but that doesn't mean the band isn't good, they are very mesmerizing. In one track titled "Away from the Sun," (and note I am using English translations here as my keyboard wont type Russian obviously) there is some incredible lead playing but here is something strange, the guitars don't sound like guitars, they actually sound more like bagpipes to my ears but somehow it all works in creating a moody vibe within the songs. In another song, "Beyond the Edge of Skies" the band get progressive with some soaring keyboard work so this is a fairly diverse album for what it is. The whole album is pretty emotional and in the death-doom vein with "When Snow Will Melt Away" bring the only song to get anything close to being upbeat.

There is a few good riffs but it is the meandering guitar solos that is the driving force behind the band. They have two guitarists so I am not sure who is doing what most of the time but the guitar work is exceptionally good. It is not overly flashy but it is very atmospheric and that makes a change from some other bands using keyboards as their main source of melancholy. If you are not sick of the goth-doom style already, you could do a lot worse than checking out Amber Tears and while the Russian lyrics can be a turn off, the guitar work should be enough to get you through. Good album.

Author: Ed
Review
Metalfan
4.5/10
29.03.2011

De bandnaam, de titel, de hoes en de omschrijving ‘pagan/folk doom’; het geeft dit product nu niet echt de hoop op een goede afloop. Dit Russische gezelschap komt ook uit die booming scene die zich in die contreien lijkt te ontwikkelen. Maar of zij zich kunnen meten met de besten…

Het zoetsappige imago dat de band blijkbaar probeert op te roepen past echter goed bij de muziek. De lieflijke deuntjes, de vrouwelijke oeh’s en aah’s die samen met de lichte keyboards hier en daar de kop opsteken en het algehele gebrek aan doomriffs maken dat dit product op de verkeerde markt lijkt te zijn gezet. De doom/death-liefhebber zal hier weinig mee kunnen, de fans van bands als Draconian zullen hier wellicht wel hun vingers bij aflikken. The Key To December heeft dan ook meer raakvlakken met gothic dan met doom, de folk/pagan-invloeden maken dit eigenlijk tot een product dat goed in het Napalm Records rooster past. De lelijke geschreeuwde vocalen maken het er ook niet beter op, wel zijn de akoestische stukken en de percussie in sommige nummers (bijvoorbeeld in Like A Silent Stream) erg mooi gearrangeerd en opgenomen.

Echt slecht is het allemaal niet, het zit best aardig in elkaar en ook de productie is mooi helder, maar het kan zich maar niet ontdoen van het niemendalletjesjachtige. Waar het misschien toch nog wat weg heeft van bijvoorbeeld Tiamat (Wildhoney) of Draconian, kan het nergens die kwaliteit evenaren.

Author: Felix
Review
Obscura
06.02.2011

Second studio album for Amber Tears from Russia, whose style belongs to the (now) classic interpretation of sad and claustrophobic extreme doom made my many russian bands. 'The Key To December' is collection of songs which are linked by a sense of melancholic sadness, as if there is something beloved to be parted ways with, a forced trip started leaving a lot of memories back having only uncertainty ahead.
Musically this is mainly highlighted by the guitar riffs, usually quite clean and open, which song after song, establish a sense of uneasiness and demoralization. I believe the result can be improved again in the future, especially adding more folk elements in the music (because, honestly, although the label of folk/doom metal, I couldn't spot anything relating to russian folk music here) because the overall content is pretty catchy and interesting.
Let's consider that we are talking about doom metal music, nothing easy for easy people, easy listening do not belong (and I hope, never will) to this kind of music, we are required a little bit of grey matter to understand and enjoy doom.
Amber Tears have released a pretty good album, I don't know what can be the feedback outside Russian borders (the lyrics are in mother language) but I'm ready for the next chapter of the trip.

Author: Gabriele Frontini
Review
Pest Webzine
9/10

New release from the so productive Russian label BadMoodMan. Amber Tears presenting us here their second full-length, an 8 tracks release lasting for a bit over 40 minutes. The band plays basically an epic Doom Metal, but there are important elements from other genres as well, like Folk Metal and Death Metal, and that give this album more variety. Melancholic, a bit depressive at times, and melodic all over, "The Key to December" is offered with a crystal clear sound, professional production and most important, a perfect instrumental execution. A really powerful album unveiling a new strong name from the Russian Doom Metal scene (Russians seem to overwhelm the World Doom Metal step by step lately). The only complaint I have about this release is that it is all Russian written and although the booklet is nice and all, contains all the lyrics, I can't do anything with it except looking at the nice pictures like a little baby, haha. At least if there were any naked chicks on it... Kidding apart, if you're into Epic Doom Metal don't miss this album, it's a very good one.

Author: Adrian
Review
Metal.de
8/10
27.12.2010

So, es wird mal wieder Zeit für etwas Exotisches. Aus Russland stammen AMBER TEARS, gegründet wurde die Band 2002, und "The Key To December" ist ihr zweites Album. Die Russen spielen Pagan Doom Metal, eine Stilrichtung, die man nicht alle Tage in den Player bekommt, und da die Band auch noch in ihrer Heimatsprache singt, wird das Ganze noch spezieller, und in diesem Fall für mich auch interessanter und spannender. Denn was AMBER TEARS da vom Stapel lassen, trifft nicht nur ganz und gar meinen Geschmack, sondern ist auch noch von hoher Qualität.

Getragener, schwerer epischer Doom Metal trifft hier auf Pagan Metal, welcher sich in Form von folkloristischen Melodielinien und Rhythmen zeigt. Die majestätischen Hymnen sind geprägt von langsamen, prägnanten Lava-Riffs, melodischen Leads, dezentem symphonischem Keyboardteppich, schleppenden Rhythmen, klarem Gesang als auch melancholischen Growls, sowie den bereits erwähnten folkloristischen Melodielinien, welche in erster Linie von der (Akustik-)Gitarre herrühren. Aber nicht nur das, was wir hier hören dürfen ist auch die Gusli, ein altrussisches Saiteninstrument, welches die Klangwelten von AMBER TEARS zusätzlich erweitert. In Verbindung mit den gesprochenen Passagen, der Melodieübernahme durch das Keyboard, den langen, ausgefeilten harmonischen Soli ergibt sich eine ganz spezielle, sehr atmosphärische Melange, die irgendwo zwischen AMORPHIS und MY DYING BRIDE liegt, und sich doch schwer vergleichen lässt.

"The Key To December" ist ein intensives, erfrischendes Hörerlebnis mit großartigen, traurigen Melodien und folkloristischen Elementen, die zu keinem Zeitpunkt auch nur ansatzweise kitschig oder billig wirken. Stark!

Author: Endres
Review
Imperiumi
3.5/10
12.03.2011

Koska en halua heti alkuun ilmoittaa, kuinka kliseistä ja mielikuvituksetonta musiikkia Amber Tears mielestäni soittaa, aloitan tämän arvostelun pikemminkin pohdinnalla siitä, edustaako se genreltään mitään muuta kuin geneeristä venäläistä melodista doom/deathmetallia? Olen kuulevinani tässä sinänsä melko mielikuvituksettomasti toteutetussa sopassa jokseenkin folkmaisia vaikutteita, jopa. Ne ilmenevät pääasiassa satunnaisten kansanmusiikkimaisten (tai mistä minä tiedän, kun en ole slaavilaisen kansanmusiikin suurin ystävä ja asiantuntija) sävelkulkujen ja soitinten käytössä, joiden tarkoitus on omalta osaltaan ilmentää ja korostaa yhtyeen pohjimmiltaan perivenäläistä (kansan)luonnetta, mitä ilmeisimmin.

Yhtye on toki suurelta osin jopa teknisesti varsin pätevä, ja laulusuorituksetkin, joissa luotetaan lähes täysin ihan mukiinmenevään murinaan, ovat sinänsä ihan ok:ta kamaa. Mutta se seikka, joka tätä bändiä, kuten useita kaltaisiaan BadMoodManin/Solitude Productionsin bändejä vaivaa, on se yksinkertainen tosiseikka, että eihän näitä yhtyeitä meinaa erottaa kirveelläkään toisistaan, ja materiaalin yleinen ”vain” mukiinmenevyys ynnä innottomuudesta kärsivä tuotantopuoli, jossa bändeistä ei olla saatu rutistettua sitten yhtään ”ihan kivaa” perussuoritusta parempaa esitystä esiin.

Totta puhuen en siis voi oikein kunnolla suositella tätä edes tällaisen kaman hooceimmmillakaan faneille, koska itse en todellakaan saanut tästä irti sitten yhtään mitään sellaista, jota jo noin vähintään parisenkymmentä muuta alan yrittäjää ei olisi tarjoillut. Lähes kaikki pisteet tulevat kohtalaisen komeista kansitaiteista, jotka tuovat allekirjoittaneelle mieleen useammankin 90-luvun puolivälin japsi-RPG:n.

Author: Heikki Puuperä
Review
Headbang
6/10

Secondo disco per i russi Amber Tears e seconda prova sufficiente, nel frattempo (quattro anni), i nostri sono passati dalla buona Stygian Crypt Productions alla BadMoodMan Records facendo un piccolo passo in termini di distribuzione/visibilità. Ci sono poi (fortunatamente) delle migliorie musicalmente parlando, gli Amber Tears sembrano ormai in procinto di sbocciare definitivamente, e continuando su questa strada (secondo il mio modesto parere) potrebbero uscire dal quasi completo anonimato fra non molto tempo. Da parte mia non posso che augurare fortuna a questi ragazzi che ci mettono impegno in quello che fanno, e lo si sente sin da subito.

Ci sono palati fini facili e altri più difficili, i primi avranno certamente qualche occasione in più di farsi piacere questo The Key To December, l'altra fascia definibile come "incontentabile" saprà già come fare di fronte all'ennesima uscita di scarsa rilevanza. L'album è dotato di un fascino particolare, un fascino (come mi ritrovo spesso a dire) che verra colto al volo soltanto dagli assidui ascoltatori di metallo estremo dell'est. Ci troviamo quindi davanti ad una di quelle produzioni pulitine, fatte magari in completa velocità (come se il gruppo avesse un fucile puntato addosso), e con quell'uscita secca dal risultato "arido" che tante persone fa scappare ai giorni d'oggi (a seconda dei casi questo può essere un bene o un male).
La copertina potrebbe fare pensare a qualcosa di totalmente diverso rispetto a quello che gli Amber Tears invece propongono, un gothic/death/doom raffinato e molto melodico cantato in lingua madre. Dopo l'intro parte subito il mio brano preferito Beskonechnost’ Seryh Dnej, intrecci melodici eleganti, potenza, e grandi chitarre gothic rendono onore ad un pezzo di grandissimo valore dove il growl mette il suo importante stampo per la riuscita del tutto. A seguire un bel pezzo malinconico, Ot Solnca Proch’ spinge su una grande emotività con le sue parti sussurate, posizionate puntualmente prima del piacevole momento portante. La forza di The Key To December sta nello perseverare, vedrete e sentirete crescere alla distanza delle canzoni apparentemente vuote e noiose come Tihim Ruch’em. Ci sono ascolti che nonostante la sufficienza non migliorano mai, questo non è il caso di questo disco che riserba ogni volta momenti di una certa validità e bellezza. Skvoz’ Snega non tocca i livelli precedenti ma si difende lo stesso molto bene, mentre Pechal’ Sedyh Holmov è una parentesi acustica atta a spezzare l'oppressività sin qui avuta. Gli Amber Tears riprendono poi il filo del discorso con Za Kraj Nebes, altra piacevole costruzione "poco respirabile" ma "di compagnia".

Non è tutto perfetto ed è un vero peccato, i russi hanno in mano una musica a cui serve davvero poco per toccare livelli eccellenti. Nel frattempo io mi accontento e spero di sentire altri fare lo stesso, questa musica se lo merita.

Author: DukeFog
Review
Atlantis Tales
9.5/10

Назвать ЯНТАРНЫЕ СЛЕЗЫ “самой известной российской pagan/doom metal группой” в пресс-релизе было несколько гиперболично – ведь, во-первых, не ими едиными, а, во-вторых, времени с выпуска первенца “Откровение Отреченных” утекло немало – четыре годка, как-никак. Тем не менее, сомнений в том, что ЯС – одна из лучших групп направления – не возникает. Если дебютная пластинка вызывала очень сильные ассоциации с GODS TOWER (кем инспирировано творчество, в общем-то, и не скрывалось – ведь ЯС даже на трибьюте Башни Богов отметились), то “Ключ к Декабрю” – работа вполне самостоятельная и нелишенная своего собственного почерка. Это крепкий, красивый и эпичный языческий doom metal. Суровость основной линии ненавязчиво смягчается лаконичными клавишными, вычурными гитарными соло и даже гуслями. Но без перебора и приторности. К тому же и звучит все на этот раз отменно – все инструменты чисты и различимы, а суховатый гроул разборчив и прекрасно дополняет музыку. С оформлением текстов в буклете группу не пнул еще, кажется, только ленивый. Если же попытался каким-то образом встать на защиту оформителей, то на ум приходит только то, что знаки препинания здесь, похоже, носят не пунктуационный, а интонационный смысл. То есть запятые стоят там, где вокалист делает паузы. Впрочем, это так... мысли вслух. Еще немного портит впечатление неудачно подобранный шрифт (правда, в читабельности ему не откажешь) и странноватый порядок текстов в буклете. Сам же артворк сделан приятно и хорошо попадает в настроение альбома. Художественность текстов сложно переоценить – это тот случай, когда тексты – всего лишь гарнир к основному блюду – музыке. А вот ее художественная ценность как раз не вызывает никаких сомнений.

Author: Atlantis
Review
Metallized
4.5/10

Mi viene assegnato il compito di recensire l’album degli Amber Tears, ed essendo un gruppo a me completamente sconosciuto inizio a prendere informazioni sulla loro musica. Vengo così a scoprire che, provenienti dalla Russia, sono definiti dall’etichetta, la Solitude Production, e da “archivi” specializzati come folk/doom o pagan/doom a seconda dell’informatore. Penso “bene! Sarà un gruppo pecoreccio come quelli che da tempo la nostra Irastrana spera di recensire”: d’altra parte bands del genere la scena russa ne sta tirando fuori a bizzeffe, i primi nomi che mi vengono in mente sono Kalevala, SatanaKozel e Beer Bear giusto per citarne alcuni.

Grande sorpresa al momento dell’ascolto: di folk neanche l’ombra, The Key To December è 100% doom/death! Sinceramente mi chiedo come faccia la casa discografica a definirli pagan metal con elementi doom/death visto che di folk e pagan non ce n’è proprio traccia, quindi le cose sono due: 1) nessuno ha ascoltato l’album 2) l’album l’hanno ascoltato e, considerando la pessima musica contenuta, hanno deciso di spacciarli per folk – ovvero la moda del momento – con tanto di foto in mezzo alla natura per fregare qualche fan del genere desideroso di scoprire nomi nuovi. Detto che elementi folk non ce ne sono non resta che addentrarsi nell’album per appurare che The Key To December è uno scialbo e noioso esempio di doom/death, niente a che vedere con l’irraggiungibile maestria dei My Dying Bride o col sound sofferto delle altre bands che hanno fatto (e fanno) la storia del genere. Quel che propongono gli Amber Tears nel loro secondo lavoro in studio non è in grado di aggiungere alcunché a ciò che è stato già detto, incapace perfino di far rimanere attento anche il più grande fan del genere.

La struttura delle canzoni è sempre la stessa e ascoltare Za Kraj Nebes o Skvoz’ Snega non fa differenza: mai un’accelerazione, mai un break o un’apertura melodica per dare respiro all’ascoltatore, tanto meno una anche minima variazione a livello di songwritig. L’opener (nel senso di prima vera canzone dopo il tradizionale quanto inutile intro) Beskonechnost’ Seryh Dnej, che in tutta sincerità male non è, si (dis)perde nella banalità di un album che ha come unica nota positiva, oltre alla breve durata – neanche quaranta minuti -, la registrazione-produzione che risulta essere pulita e ben curata. Come detto precedentemente le canzoni si somigliano tutte tra di loro e non può certo bastare l’inutile brano acustico – con tanto di cantato sussurrato a opera del comunque discreto singer Anton Bandurin – Pechal’ Sedyh Holmov, messo forse per spezzare la tensione (o dovrei dire noia?) creata-causata dalle precedenti canzoni e riuscendo anzi nella difficile impresa di far venire voglia di skippare alla traccia successiva pur sapendo che sarebbe tornato prepotente un cupo-soffocante (nell’accezione negativa del termine, considerando il genere musicale fa strano, no?) doom/death come neanche gli ultimi – pessimi – Crematory sono in grado di deliziarci.

E intanto il treno va, con venticinque minuti di ritardo, verso la destinazione che con brama sto desiderando, seduto sulle scalette per salire e scendere dal vagone tanto è pieno di persone, e degli Amber Tears proprio non ne posso più. Mi aspettano bellissimi momenti e ho voglia di qualcosa che soddisfi il mio animo. Sfoglio gli album caricati sull’iPod e la scelta cade sui Bucovina, pagan metal band rumena. Sì, di doom/death di quarto ordine ne ho fin sopra i capelli…

Author: Fabriziomagno
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