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Amygdala - Amygdala CD (album) cover

AMYGDALA

Amygdala

 

Zeuhl

3.06 | 12 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Amygdala made quite an entry with their namesake debut album: in this 2004 item we find a solid exercise on renewing the standards of 81-84 era Univers Zero and post-"Kommandoh" Magma, plus the bizarre colorfulness of Happy Family and the no less bizarre power of Ruins. Clearly, Amygdala is a creature of its particular progressive environment in a peculiar part of the world. This duo clearly defines its musical trend as a labor of picking things up where Bonage Fruit and happy Family left them. 'Utrecht' opens up the album with a heavy mood, living plenty of room for the guitar and the amply distorted bass to take center stage by storm: the dynamics and rhythmic frenzy get gradually augmented as the track evolves through its solid architecture of mood and tempo variations. This brilliant opening makes way for the next track, '1998', to preserve this exciting vibe with an enhanced colorfulness. You can tell that the composition and deliveries bear an augmented enthusiasm, but let's not jump to the conclusion that this has become some sort of "happy RIO": on the contrary, the sonic spectrum of anger and mystery prevails through the development of the main motif and the successive permutations. There is a mellotron (or mellotron-like) interlude that pretty much reminds us of "Ceuz du Cohors"-era Univers Zero - it provides a somber bridge between the preceding passage's frantic finale and the following passage's gradually climatic intro (actually, a reprise of the opening motif). This piece epitomizes better than any other in the album the apex of Amygdala's vision. But let's move on confident that we won't get disappointed at all in the remaining repertoire. 'Bernoulli's Organ' pretty much preserves the sense of colorfulness so proficiently incarnated in the preceding track, only this time the pulsating factor is more prevalent than the orchestral one: this is real zeuhl, the sort of modernized zeuhl that other Japanese acts such as Happy Family and Bondage Fruit had stated so convincingly in the 90s. 'Low Life' marks a return to the standards of Univers Zero chamber-rock, displaying a powerful set of languid, autumnal atmospheres in the melodic and harmonic developments. The weird thing, though, is that the rhythm section (that is, the bass guitar and the loyal rhythm machine) actually indulge in a display of jazzy cadences, which in the most exciting passages turn quite Latin. A combination of the sinister side of chamber-rock and a set of jazz-fusion paces - you have to hear it to believe, like I just did! '_db' drifts through a denser stream, finding the band exploring the most sinister aspect of their musical avant-garde vision. The track builds up a proper climax of tension and mystery in a cleverly sustained fashion. The doses of energy and creativity are really awesome, leading to an explosive closure. The segued brief piece 'Under Utopian Universe' functions as an epilogue to '_db', something like a call for repose after the magnificent explosion of avant-prog that had taken place just before. 'Theme of Unteleported Man' is the bonus closure that finds keyboardist Nakajima indulging in a bombastic orchestral framework, electrifying and majestic, as if prokofiev's spirirt had inundated Nakajima's mind and flesh. A very captivating ending for an amazing album - Amygdala is an important part of this new generation of talented Japanese acts devoted to the preservation of RIO and zeuhl for the new millennium.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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