Review: Amber My Ember – Lock’s Apocalypse
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Opening with the strike of thunder we’re taken straight in the apocalypse with ‘Searching – Act 1.’ Listening to the clean vocals of Tokin Webb, we’re transported into the nightmare of the apocalypse from the perspective of Lock, a man trying to find his estranged father amidst the end of the world. Surrounding the story are the punishingly harsh vocals of Jeremy Oman, the powerful and technical rhythms of Clayton Gustin and Cameron Kechter, and a heavy-meets-melodic guitar approach of Webb. Overall, this track kicks your ass in line and draws you in with the story of survival and determination. Everything falls in place here from the duality of Webb and Oman’s vocals to the melodies and sheer heaviness.
‘The Stranger – Act 2’ takes a much more melodic, and even soul-like, approach as Webb opens the songs with some serious belting over a piano before Oman takes us back to hell alongside a heavy onslaught. Perfectly capturing this chapter of the story, in which Lock is captured by the Stranger, this track has a far more sinister feel to it. The chunky riffs and technical drumming sit well, but it’s the pained cries of Webb and the snarls of Oman that really sell this track such as “I thought this was safety. I tricked myself in this mess,” and “And now I’m looking in the eyes of a stranger. He’s staring back at me with bloodshot eyes and anger.” Of course, one of my absolute favorite elements of this song is the synths. Though they’re not in your face, they’re present just enough to give this track some great atmosphere.
Finishing off the extended play is ‘Found – Act 3.’ Wasting no time, this track takes a running start to the finish with a fast beat, soaring lead guitars, chunky riffs, strong as ever rhythms, and a passionate performance by Webb and Oman. One of the greatest elements of this song, and the EP as a whole, are the lyrics. This concept was simply fantastic and done extremely well in just three tracks. As well, the band really hits the atmosphere right. With synths lurking in the background I’m really able to realize the story in my mind, especially this triumphant end in which Lock has completed his journey safely and faces the new task of rebuilding himself. And then there’s echoing of Webb’s chorus in the background; that ghostly echo sends goosebumps up my arms and finishes this extended play on top.
I’m fairly new to Amber My Ember, but I can tell you this – after hearing Lock’s Apocalypse, I’m a fan for life. This EP rises above contemporary metalcore with a big sound and a no guts, no glory approach to musical experimentation. Amber My Ember wowed me with their crunching rhythms, technicality, and atmosphere, and it’s my humble opinion that Tokin Webb is easily one of the best clean singers in the Midwest scene today – and he’s got one hell of a band behind him too. Least to say, I simply can’t wait for their next release and I sure hope it’s a concept album, because these guys can tell a story. 9/10