By John Sosnowski in Arts & Entertainment
September 15, 2011
The world of punk music is polluted by droves of cookie-cutter deathcore bands, faux screamo, watery emo-pop and blatant affronts to all that is good and well in music (read: Brokencyde).
Ampere’s “Like Shadows” is at once both a reminder of a bygone era where true-school screamo ruled the underground and a message of what punk music could use nowadays: more effort, more passion, and more chaos.
Offering only a few seconds of guitar fuzz as a buffer to the listener, the album quickly explodes into a storm of sound, which scarcely relents over the course of the 17-minute running time.
Despite their short and crushing nature, each track displays a level of technicality that is rarely seen in any branch of punk and is largely owing to genre veteran Will Killingsworth’s guitar.
This is not to say that the standard hardcore licks and breakdowns are absent, since they help to create a pretty cohesive hybrid sound. Meanwhile, the few slow parts present a level of beauty easily rivaling that of musicians of much gentler musical persuasions.
Screamo vocalist Stephen Pierce seems to bring a paradoxically melodic nature to his scream, setting this band apart and arguably a cut above their peers.
This is a band who truly understands the meaning of the word emo: “emotional hardcore.”
While I challenge anyone to understand the lyrics without cheating, the entire piece evokes a scathing yet beautiful subconscious emotional response. The only drawback is brevity: most of the 15 tracks are under a minute and stop just as they’re getting good. While punk was never about 10-minute guitar solos, Ampere could stand to borrow from predecessors and arguably screamo inventors, Portraits of Past. They could improve by expanding their songs into the 2-3 minute range; a minor flaw in a near-perfect album.