ANN MY GUARD
Album Review By Rachel Tooley
Ouriana is the newest release from ‘Ann My Guard’ – a rock band who formed all the way back in 2007. Their first EP ‘Cinderella’ was eventually released in 2010, and proved to be a real hit with the group’s followers. The second track from the EP even made it on to an American promotional record (Kill City Series). Thanks to this feature, the band began to get recognition from a much wider audience. The second EP was recorded in summer 2011, in Hungary’s best/most professional studio, where they were helped by the country’s most successful rock producer – Zoltán Varga. In November 2012, Ann My Guard were signed to Norwegian Smash Fabric Records with their Doll Metal EP. Since then, they have also released their debut single and music video ‘Crush Honey’ which was awarded 1st prize from the Hungarian Music 1 Channel’s talent competition. Their first full length album was finally released in 2014, and the beginning of the following year they also began to work with UK based indie label – Shamanize Records.
Their newest album is a very unique collection of recordings which has a lot of little quirks running all the way through. The band cleverly use interludes to keep you on your toes and make sure they present each track to be as distinctive and creative as possible. The first track on the album ‘Novae’ was certainly not what I was expecting. It’s a very mellow, slightly old fashioned sounding piece. Short and sweet really sums this one up. The eerie ending of ‘Novae’ sets an atmosphere and leaves you hanging from an edge as you wait for the next track to begin. Track two is much heavier and faster. There is quite an unusual approach to the vocals used on this song; to me, the band come across quite tribally which leaves a colder atmosphere, although it is strangely empowering, I’m not sure if I’m so keen on this one. ‘Callisto’ has a much softer introduction. I really like the fusion between the piano, the drums and the guitar. The clever composition of the track shows the experience the band have in this industry – they have layered different components together which makes the track very different to what you may expect. As the tempo quickens throughout, you begin to feel the energy buzzing through your body.
‘Lo’ is a really peaceful, interlude style track. It really threw me off guard when I first heard this one, but there is something about it that I absolutely love. It completely changes your state of mind, and relaxes you into a subtle kind of trance; it’s very powerful for such a short track. The only thought that I had as I listened to this piece was that it was like artwork in musical form (cheesy as it sounds). Track five ‘Breathe The Sun’ brings you straight back to reality. It’s very dark yet subtle, and the vocals have a great variation within their tone. This brings out the emotion in the track – as I listened, I sensed a burst of heartache or troubled feelings, it’s much more dramatic than the tracks previously played. The sixth track ‘Obsidian Tears’ really knocks you out of place when you hear the jump from the intro. I really like the difference between the slowed down vocals, against the faster rhythm of the track, and not to mention the brilliant guitar riffs which feature in the second half. ‘Serpent’ suddenly separates you from all the vitality emitted from the previous track. You are dragged into a mysterious utopia with a very eerie energy as you listen to the sounds and echoes radiating from this piece. Track eight ‘Hekate’ is a complete turning point on the album, your ears are suddenly filled with extremely heavy, dark emotions which pull at your soul and tears away all of the hazy feelings the previous song gifted you with. Finally ‘The Secret’ is a really easy listen, which rounds off the album nicely. Focusing on the vocals of the track, I got quite a nostalgic Evanescence vibe here. I came to the conclusion that this song was very much like the concept of the angel vs the devil. The angelic vocal chords mixed with a very innocent sound of a violin contrast heavily against the darker edge which are strongly portrayed through the bass in the background. A really effective way to end an album.
Breathe The Sun
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