Published on 24th August 2018
Amorkiir – Amorkiir
Finding Amorkiir on CDBaby was a very fruitful search, this debut album is a wonderful surprise that should be shared. A collection of singles that the band has written and recorded between 2014-2017 and inspired by bands such as Rush, Porcupine Tree, Jeff Beck, The Flower Kings, Radiohead, Opeth, and more.
From Las Vegas, Amorkiir are a duo of guitarist Ali Minian and Leroy Martinez on keyboards and sampling. The pair met in school and have worked on prior projects together, including a sci-fi prog rock album titled Perahelion, released in 2014, rebranding themselves as Amorkiir in 2015, inspired by an Elven name in the game Dungeons and Dragons.
The band are augmented here by a number of local singers and musicians, including Luke Kirschke who adds his vocal to The Renaissance Man. The track opens with a drum roll and lightening hot lead electric guitar from Rafael Ortega, all welcomed with beautiful keys and surrounding effects. Kirschke sings, “A man could do all the things if he will. A mind could grow beyond goodwill. I take the path that I aspire. Even if it takes me through the fire”; inspired lyrics and powerful vocals. Excellent piano, with perfect harmony and rhythm, completes with instrumentation as later, Kirschke sings, “The path is not long, but the way is deep. You must not only walk there, you must be prepared to leap.” An excellent start.
Memory is a fun and romantic love song in the style of Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, and The Seatbelts. Pure Joy sings and Rob Hau plays bass, they form a Las Vegas band called Pure Joy People, members of Backhouse Lily also join in to help play on this track. The piano work here is perfect, the track taking you to a smoke-filled Vegas bar during the ‘Rat Pack’ era and allows you experience it all.
Musical Box isn’t the Genesis song, but is just as interesting. In fact, it’s riveting and more like something you might expect from Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down… album. Ernie Rodriguez sings vocals, as all manner of instruments fill the rapid-paced soundscape to give a very cool and mysterious rhythm. Rodriguez at times whispers the lyrics, making the track even more mystical, keys and drums making this one of the best tracks. For example, Rodriguez sings quietly, “Automated woodblock. Dressed in pastel. Spindle little gridlock. In an ongoing carousel. Brass spring. Winding key. Union of gears. Speaks to me”, like a fast-paced mystery novel unveiling itself in musical form, it is full of surprises. Songbird has inspiration from Jeff Beck and is a fun, mostly instrumental track full of birdsong and noises, as well as instrumental interpretations of birds. Very King Crimson as well. Nice touch.
The album closes with Oath Keeper, a 19-minute prog masterwork featuring a love song story about two adolescent witches and the occult. It is separated into four parts: Larkspur is all instrumental and opens with fire and deep, dark, forbidding piano keys, like one of my favourite Procol Harum songs, or early King Crimson. The second part, Lilac, finds a happier piano sound before more dark keys, drum rhythms, and electric bass enter. The first vocals come from Elmer Abapo, “Eyes locked, full of secrets. Ours fingers brushed against the pages. Books brimmed with knowledge of lost arts”. Like Evanescence’s My Immortal, it’s powerful and eerie at the same time. Chantay Benshimon adds her voice with “Breathe in somber. Lay me your secrets. Seek me”, as Yestyn Griffith’s violin makes the soundscape complete. The guitar work is excellent as together Abapo and Benshimon sing, “Sing me your rites. Pray for the nights. Say what they may, but I’ll find a way”. Part three, Black Lotus, is a powerful instrumental, again full of darkness. It is extraordinary. The epic closing part Funeral Fog completes the story, Abapo singing, “Now I lay fallen from grace. Awaken by an autumn breeze. Revealing the dream
When I had a reason to breathe…” The doom in the air is perfectly created with deep chords and rhythms.
As I mentioned before this album has been a wonderful surprise full of interesting and original music. I would suggest that you give it a try, and you, like I, may be anticipating their next great creation.
01. The Renaissance Man (7:54)
02. Memory (5:14)
03. Musical Box (4:40)
04. Songbird (4:04)
05. Oath Keeper (19:40)
Total Time – 41:32
Ali Minian – Guitar
Leroy Martinez – Keyboards, Sampling
Dennis Weirich – Drums
Rafael Ortega – Guitar
Luke Kirschke – Vocals (track 1)
Pure Joy – Vocals (track 2)
Rob Hau – Bass (track 2)
Carl Adami – Bass (track 2)
Bill Maihen – Drums (track 2)
Ernie Rodrigues – Vocals (track 3)
Chantey Benshimon – Vocals (track 5)
Elmer Abapo – Vocals
Yestyn Griffith – Violin
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 1st August 2018