Music Review: Amon – Liar In Wait (2012)

By Devdutt Nawalkar

Deicide. An institution in death metal. A band mocked for much of the last decade. The advent of easily accessible internet, and the regrettable attitudes that have accompanied it in tandem, have seen an upsurge in new fans, easily dismissive or worse, ignorant, of what the band once meant to this music. As a guy getting into death metal in the India of the 90s, Deicide, alongside other well-known luminaries, were the ultimate alpha dogs. The first two albums are stone cold classics, and to this day are capable of chilling one to the marrow. As tired as Benton’s shtick might’ve become over the years, for all intents and purposes, he was bestiality and devil incarnate on those two records. The Hoffman brothers, Eric and Brian, took their Slayer-influenced atonal insanity to unchartered waters – there was precious little that sounded like Deicide then. They were fast, they were loud, they were politically incorrect as all hell. They just “felt” death metal.

They never scaled those lofty heights of righteously pissed off youth again, and even put out a few cringeworthy efforts in Insineratehymn and In Torment In Hell. Scars Of The Crucifix was the last album they put out with the Hoffmans, a portent of the style they would go on to pursue with Ralph Santolla and Jack Owen – a more melodic strain of death metal which, while working wonders on The Stench Of Redemption – the sound of a rejuvenated band with something to prove – quickly grew old with following efforts. Of course, post-Scars was also the time when the Hoffmans parted with Benton and Steve Asheim amidst fairly unedifying scenes of public bickering over songwriting credits.

It’s common knowledge that Amon was the band name before they came to be known as Deicide. Word about an Amon “reunification” had been doing the grapevine ever since the Hoffmans split. It’s taken bit more than half a decade, but finally, in the grand tradition of jilted heavy metal heroes trying to get theirs back, ‘Liar In Wait’ sees the light of day. Helmed by the Hoffmans of course, alongside Mike Petrak on drums and Jechael on vocals/bass, Liar In Wait is an extremely solid, if slightly unremarkable, helping of fast, blasphemous, old school death metal. And by fast, I mean this shit is fast! There aren’t many current bands playing this style today; I don’t mean the super technical, brutal stuff, but bands with an almost single minded focus on belting out unrelenting, tremolo picked death metal like a Krisiun or an  Angelcorpse of yore. There is hardly a groove to be found on display here, and while the tastefully melodic solos are the only reluctant concession to accessibility, this is precisely thirty six minutes of ball point caving in of the human cranium.

Thirty six minutes is ideal for this kind of death metal. There isn’t much by way of variety here, and the songs often melt into one another. But I don’t think the Hoffmans would have it any other way. There is a single point agenda here, and that is to strip death metal of a lot of cute afflictions that currently plague it, and revert back to a more unrestrained, balls-out style. This isn’t like the first two by any stretch of the imagination; as mentioned before, it owes a lot to Scars Of The Crucifix. The soloing is immaculate, and unlike the case with Santolla, isn’t protracted, knows when to bow out with grace, and just fits the songwriting. The riffing is much like the more aggressive sections on The Stench Of Redemption (throws up an interesting catch 22 too; the carry over from Scars to latter-day Deicide efforts being obvious, who exactly have Asheim & co. been copying the past six years?), along with a lot of South American and Polish death metal inclinations.

Jechael is good on growls too. Passionate, snarling, mixing highs and lows with perfectly placed ferocity, he won’t have you pining for Benton. The drumming is fairly standard for this kind of death metal; blasting for the most part, rarely having a chance to slow down and display other chops, but certainly not a sore point.

‘Liar In Wait’ isn’t the freshest thing you’ll hear this year, but you can’t fault it for passion and honest intent. It sure beats out the hundred and forty seventh attempt at ripping off Incantation.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Solar Deity – The Darkness Of Being (Atmospheric Black Metal)

FREE DOWNLOAD: Solar Deity – Snowless (Depressive Suicidal Black Metal)

FREE DOWNLOAD: Solar Deity – In The Name Of Satan (Raw Black Metal)

3 Responses to “Music Review: Amon – Liar In Wait (2012)”

  1. August 24, 2012 at 06:18

    This is good! I read somewhere that the vocalist sounds too much like old boy Benton, but it’s nothing like that. If anything, the dude sounds like a cross between Steve Tucker and George Fisher. The brothers Hoffman are gonna make Glen and Steve Asheim sit up with this one.


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