All That Is Solid Melts Into Air


Columbia Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


The pivotal fourth release for self-proclaimed hardcore punkers Amulet is All That Is Solid Melts Into Air -- an album that can honor the claim of "Scandinavia's most persistent hardcore band" made in their label's press release. Or, it could be yet another effort that settles on softened melodies as we've previously discussed on their last album, Danger! Danger!

Optimistically, I entered into my purchase of this album thinking these Oslo rockers were surely heading back to their blistering roots. The first single, "Warpriest," shows all the hallmarks of a track that was pressed to victimize and brutalize its audience with lead throat Torgny Amdam honorably wailing his way through large portions of his missive. It's not as strong a track as "Life On The Edge Of Chaos" or "Won't Hold Back" from Amulet's truly hardcore debut, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Burning Sphere, but one that is worthy of "single" status for sure.

Unfortunately for me, "Warpriest" is nothing but a dupe effort, as the rest of the album is essentially nothing more than an easy rock ride highlighting drummer Jonas Thire's percussion and Amdam's proclivity to find the matching key.

Being so obviously faked out by this revelation, I instinctively want to sit here and rail on this album, but I'm not going to go so far as say that Amdam isn't suited for this relaxed vocal approach. Hope actually does hinge itself on the fact that Amulet has never sounded better in this muted rock form than when performing the opening track, "Crash Into My Room." This track is what one would call a bonafide rock hit if ever there was such a thing -- nevermind that real rock is never played on the radio anymore and thus never charts. "Crash" has definite singalong appeal with its definitive back beats and curiously winding guitar paths.

Too bad there is not much else on this album to rival either of the tracks I've described. "Oslo Death City" does not inspire any fear, as the performance merely settles on a groove rhythm and little else. And after listening to the mundanely forced "LFMDFM," I care little in finding what this song title abbreviates as usually; such a quirky title will force me into finding out the inspiration.

Oh sure, "Pitch Black Void" is a song that is likely to find its way onto future setlists with its catchy non-hardcore chorus being the signature piece. But the track would surely be more interesting with a more consistent oomph behind it.

Amulet is a widely talented band with one of rock n' roll's most capable voices leading the way. But their current efforts in mixing the extreme with the more mainstream is a bad idea and while I am sure there are probably equal numbers of folks that prefer the band's current instrumental and vocal pace, I doubt there are many that wouldn't agree with me when I state that the band hasn't yet found a way to credibly package both rock styles on one album.

That being said, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air shows that Amulet has decided promise in mastering either rock style. I just find issue with the fact that the band proclaims to be a hardcore band first and foremost when it is so obvious that those days have largely passed.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.