Amken – Passive Aggression

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Ever since I saw this band supporting Sodom (albeit briefly) at the classic basement of An Club in 2017, I knew we had something special here. Their first full-length “Theater Of The Absurd” that came out a few months later confirmed this thought for me, since I never stopped listening to it again and again. Soon the thrashers from Athens climbed to the top of my favorite Greek bands of that particular sound, along with Bio-Cancer and Suicidal Angels.

In “Passive Aggression” we clearly see the band’s appetite and need for development. Just as “Theater Of The Absurd” varied from the EP “Adrenaline Shot” (2014), so the new record is different from its predecessor and quite a lot as many new elements were introduced. These are found both in the area of ​​vocals, and in the approach with which the songs have been written. In terms of duration, we are at the same level, since as in the previous one we have eight compositions that last a little over half an hour.

So, in terms of vocals, the band left the classic thrash ones and went on more extreme paths approaching the death element. And it’s not like they changed any member in this position, since they are still shared by guitarists and founding members Vanias (main) and Giannis (backing). As for the music, Amken put more variety in their compositions. Like for example we see a lot more mid-tempo moments. Such of course were also in “Theater Of The Absurd” but clearly less, since in each song the general orientation was the fast speeds. Also, it’s very important that the band sounds more confident with their technical brilliance.

The result is awesome and the heavier guitars in these parts combined with the extreme vocals reminded me of the mighty The Haunted. Another feature is that they have embellished the album with excellent guitar melodies, which in some songs are more intense. In general, the effort they have put into the record does not go unnoticed and the difference from the more…hard-headed (but equally amazing) “Theater Of The Absurd” is such that one might think that we are talking about a completely different band. I don’t consider it a coincidence that for its release they managed to sign a label that has the status of Massacre.

The sound is flawless, managed by the usual suspects Fotis Benardo (production, mixing) at Devasoundz Studio and George Nerantzis (mastering). The cover by Adam Burke, different for what we were used by them, is also very interesting. Putting all this together, one understands that we are talking about a highly professional work in every field from the Greek thrashers that no fan of this style should miss. Most bands are looking to make a record that will take them to the next level. I believe that Amken with “Passive Aggression” have succeeded that.