The following is a review of our Pathways EP by Chicago Indie Music Live.
Amicus evenly divides its four-song Pathways EP among alternative metal ("We Are the Truth" and "Heal Ailing Eyes") and post-grunge ("The Nothing" and "Recover the Fire"). No doubt alt-metal will figure largely in Amicus' future recordings -- their instrumentalists are just too good to limit to the down-tempo. But even on the excellent post-grunge dirges, we get guitar riffs tucked into fills, and some of the most accomplished soloing of the album. (Indeed, the solo at 2:20 of "Recover the Fire" compares favorably to one of Amicus' metal influences, Trivium.)
Regardless of genre, Amicus' Pathways boasts ever-evolving guitar and drum parts that set up instantly memorable vocal hooks. (After closing Spotify, you may find yourself singing, "Ignite the rage, no giving up / ...ignite the rage, recover the fire.")
Album-opener, "We Are the Truth," is built on multitudinous guitar parts sounding like the how-to on how to write nuanced guitar music around pop convention. It starts with an intricate guitar pattern, and gives way to minimalist notes that set both melody and space to sing. And the transition (at :37) and chorus feature equally suitable percussion, and yet another guitar riff. It's musical flourishes like these that diminished grunge in light of its more commercially sustainable successor.
Listen to the care that went into the hook of Amicus' "Heal Ailing Eyes" (starting at :40): the chugging build of the pre-chorus; several tracks of expertly recorded/mixed vocals; a guitar riff stabbing the space between; and drums that evolve to fill and shift or stop-and-start. (Keep listening at 1:02 to catch more of the drum show.) In this, Amicus recalls the memorable hooks of Breaking Benjamin, but manage to rock harder by flashing glimpses of metal-inspired vocal/drum/guitar that evoke the harsher elements of Sevendust.
Every synapse is firing on the Pathways EP. In Chicago's alt-metal tradition, there's a new Chevelle in town: Amicus' constantly mutating guitar and drums accent powerful vocal hooks as visceral as they are memorable.