Founded by frontman Christian "Xian Amatory" Peppas, Brooklyn-based quintet The Amatory Murder bring together elements of gothic and industrial rock, post-punk and '80s-style synthpop to call forth what they describe as “the dynamic emotional cyclone of rage, love, doubt and fear.” That's a pretty heavy order for a band that's only been on the radar for a few years, but in that time they've drawn a strong underground following, thanks in part to their emotionally powerful roof-raising anthems, darkly romantic club hits like “Lonely Boy,” and successful shows with gothic/industrial icons like Thrill Kill Kult and Left Spine Down; they've also impressed clubbers with their epic "Church of Murder" events, which the band has hosted and headlined at multiple New York venues.
I got an advance listen to their upcoming EP Exploiting Our Dreams (which is set to drop next Tuesday), and it's an intense and inviting taste of the band's potentially wider appeal, tackling no less than the tragic beauty of our nightmares. The record features five new tracks, including the excellent first single “A Haunting,” which calls to mind the sweeping synth/guitar soundscapes of power-pop unit The Birthday Massacre, topped with Peppas' heart-rending vocals (often reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor) and some impressive dynamics that range from low, smoldering breaks to a soaring, goosebump-inducing chorus. Dig the single's newly-released lyric video:
The NIN influence comes through strongest in "Perverted Views," an up-tempo piece driven by a frantic synth sequence and fat, burning power chords; "Need" also serves up some hot riffs, but pairs them with smooth, crystalline synth lines in step with an unusual but memorable staccato cadence, and the most distinctive of the band's vintage-style electronics compliment the moody, harmonized vocals of "Eleanor." One of the surprising standouts here is a fairly gentle but energetic cover of the Police classic “King of Pain,” which demonstrates Peppas' ease with Sting's higher vocal range.
The EP is rounded out with four remixes, which include collaborations with dark synthpop veteran Elliot Berlin of Aesthetic Perfection and Panic Lift's James Francis. The strongest of the bunch include the spooky aggro-tech “Fuck Your Club Mix” of “A Haunting” and two versions of “Eleanor,” including Francis' urgent, darkly pulsing version enhanced by a swirl of ghostly, whispered vocals, and the sweeping, reverb-soaked “Particle Drop” Mix, sure to win the hearts of darkly-inclined club kids.
Whether or not it's an interim release (hopefully a sequel to their 2011 full-length A Different Frequency is in the works soon), there's easily an entire album's worth of dramatic potency in this EP, carried off with some seriously impressive instrumental and songwriting skills – more than enough to kick the band to the next level. If Exploiting Our Dreams is any indication of what's to come, I'm already pretty damn stoked for it.