To say that IAmber traffics in a complex form of rock may be something of an understatement. Ostensibly a post-rock project, the Finnish group mines from metal, post-punk as well as prog, classic, alternative and hard rock genres—often checking several of those boxes in the confines of a single song. On their sophomore album, Rueris, IAmber creates vast, desolate spaces, illuminates every corner with bright guitars before filling each crevice with heavy, yet nuanced, walls of sound.
With such a wide array of genres at play, you might think that IAmber would be a hard band to nail down, insofar as their own sound is concerned, but there's a unifying sense of foreboding darkness, as well as a prevalent use of effects and a propensity to bounce between quiet interludes and crushing torrents of distortion. Between the channeled, albeit sparse, vocals, ghostly echoing reverb and bright distortion of minor chords, IAmber can be evocative of the dark psychedelia of The Doors or Echo and the Bunnymen—not that they sound like either of those bands outright, but they feel similar. The vocals, on the few non-instrumental songs, often maintain phased out qualities similar to Tool, but with some of the levity of new wave oddballs, The The. And, as sure as you're going to get a drop in an EDM song, the post-rock majority share in the band's sound ensure that, at some point, it's going to get quiet for a second and then really loud as the wall of guitars come rushing up.
The songs themselves are complex—they have to be to accrue such a litany of cameos from individual genres in the span of seven songs. There's a definite sense of evolution to each song that comes not only from building, or waxing and waning, in intensity, but also from the use of intricate chord progressions that evolve each time around the chorus—in the cases where there even is a clear chorus. Having over a dozen different riffs or movements in a song allows for ample opportunity to transition, bit by bit, from one end of the spectrum to the other.
This radical evolution within a song can be a curse or a blessing. Some songs start in one place and end up so far removed from there that you wonder why all the parts were stitched together in the first place. For example, I absolutely loved the first half of the track “Bricks.” It almost sounded like Yo La Tengo—a radical change from a band that was getting their Metallica on a scant few minutes prior, but a great midpoint departure in the album. But once the inevitable build came and continued (and continued) along an increasingly intense and repetitive series of steps, it felt like overkill and completely separated the beginning of the song from the end.
That said, the crazy evolutions within songs worked more than it didn't. The first song started with easy ambience before guiding the listener in and building intuitively. The variety exhibited there made the slightly more upbeat nature of the second song seem like the most natural thing in the world, as well as built a little anticipation for the rest of an album where you don't know exactly where the band is going to go with it.
At the end of the day, that's the most exciting part of IAmber. These guys clearly are pushing boundaries and unafraid to go in a multitude of directions—including joining some genres that typically wouldn't share an album, let alone a song. It doesn't hurt that they're also self-recording and producing the project in an abandoned sugar factory. There's a sense of creative control, total self-direction and just the right amount of Scandinavian weird to make IAmber's Rueris absolutely worth checking out.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook