On their debut, Amorphia play thrash metal, influenced in equal parts by early Slayer, Kreator, and Sodom. Many bands from the fledgling Indian metal scene have attempted to play speed/thrash but have as a rule succumbed to instrumental flashiness and all-around cluelessness. You see, in the aspiring Indian metal guitarist’s consciousness, palm-muted downpicking is enshrined not as mere technique, but as motif and developmental device also. As such, it isn’t uncommon to find Indian speed metal albums, small though their number might be, littered with vast swathes of meaningless, chugging static. To the Indian mind, unconcerned with structure in metal, this leftover from hardcore equals riff equals headbanging, and therefore is a good thing; bands are forced to hone their chops in pathetic college competitions before equally pathetic judges and quite naturally come to see the cheap mosh break and the reaction it elicits as a validation of their songcraft.
Arms To Death bolts out of the door using ‘Chemical Warfare‘ as template, and then keeps using it intermittently for the remainder of its length. The hallmark of that classic is a relentlessly sustained apocalyptic narrative. Sparse of arrangement in terms of core note density, the song relies on melodic memorability in an atonal context, slight sideways variations on themes previously introduced, clever use of reiteration, and, above all, intensity. Amorphia have studied the texture of ‘Chemical Warfare‘, but other than the sincere exuberance of youth, they show little awareness of what made Slayer‘s song great. As has been stressed on these pages, some of their failings are a natural caveat of thrash metal, but even so, slightly jarring shifts in tempo and tone and a steadfast refusal to explore greater melodic space renders this debut as little more than gratuitous release.