Goth metal band Amos returns after a long hiatus with their third album, Jade, moving into more into the goth hard rock side of things compared to previous releases, which leads to a more cohesive sound where nothing is forced.
Returning from a long hiatus like one that Amos has experienced can be tough on a fan base, but looking over what I can find on the band’s history, their long time fans may be a bit used to this as this is their third full length since the band started back in 1994. Listening to the songs on Jade with the clear vocals, I had no idea the band is actually from Mato Grasso in Brazil. For Jade, Amos has drifted away from the doom influences in previous albums and more fully embraced goth sensibilities. As one might imagine, production is very clean, layered, and full. Keyboards are prevalent but not dominant and vocals are a bit toward the forefront in the sound and this is a good thing as they are so dark, brooding, and smooth.
Chiming guitars open up “Still Believe” on the first track of the album and having not heard Amos before, the vocals immediately caught my ear as they are somewhat hypnotic in tone and delivery. Backing it all is a guitar-led rhythm section that provides a solid counterpoint to the delivery of the lyrics. Multiple guitars in the mix provide some great opportunities for layering the different parts and they are used very well in the song.
“Devotion” opens with a bass guitar riff that carries on through the song after the guitars and vocals come in in this somewhat upbeat track. Again multiple guitar parts take the lead in the overall direction of the song but keyboards and bass do provide some vital elements to the song, especially the Hammond organ parts. “Called from the Dark” is more of the same but with a heavier emphasis on the guitars.
For “Stranger Love” the band goes a bit heavier still and even has a hint of distortion in the vocals during the verse sections, only to revert back to the smooth, somber delivery heard throughout the rest of the album. And then if that change was not enough, the band goes in a much less aggressive direction in the keyboard-heavy “Lost Essence”. Finishing out the album, is the track “Wait for You” which in a lot of ways is pure, straight-ahead hard rock in structure, but still has the vocals although even they lean closer to hard rock than anything goth.
In starting out this review, I was thinking that Amos was a new band to me but I had actually heard a song of theirs on a comp that was from 2005. Eleven years ago, something about the song “Time to Die” caught my ear as it’s still in my music files and from my perspective, Jade is really just a more mature version of the sound on that release. “Time to Die” features the characteristic goth vocals but also has a lot more metal elements to it that on listening now, seem almost forced. On Jade, Amos have crafted ten songs that vary quite a bit in terms of style and arrangements but all feel smoothly integrated, nothing is forced, every guitar part, bass line, and drum beat works together in harmony with the vocals.
Written by John Jackson
1. Still Believe
3. Called From The Dark
4. Stranger Loves
5. Lost Essence
9. Prodigal Girl
10. Wait For You
Marcos Paschoal – Drums
Evandro Vaz (Evans) – Guitars
Rodrigo Shimabukuro (Digão) – Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Roxx Records, Oct. 2016
Lyric video for ‘Infinity’
Lyric video for ‘Prodigal Girl’