Amarok is the prog project of Polish multi-instrumentalist Michał Wojtas. What caught my attention about this album was that Mariusz Duda of Riverside provides vocals on a track, “Idyll.” Needless to say, that track is worth the price of admission alone. It and the rest of “Hunt” sound a lot more like Lunatic Soul than Riverside.
The album has a lot of ambience to it. Whether it’s the cinematic instrumental “Two Sides” or the somewhat clanging of “Distorted Soul,” this is NOT about the quantity of notes but rather the quality of them. The album could certainly be confused with Lunatic Soul had Duda sang on more tracks. But Wojtas has a very strong voice which is on full display on tracks like “Winding Stairs.” In addition to Duda, Colin Bass guests on the track “Nuke” and does a fine job.
The one downside for me is the overabundance of programming of the percussion. The good thing about it is that it never tries to sound like drums, which is my pet peeve. Still, it can sound a tad sterile at times and even a little over done. The other issue is the spoken word to start off the epic title track. I am not a fan of spoken word as you all know and this actually sounds like an advertisement in tone and topic. The song itself sounds like something Mike Oldfield would have written which is a complement indeed.
It’s been 13 years since the last Amarok album and I was completely unaware of Wojtas’ work. After listening to “Hunt,” I am struck by the huge gap. This is a clearly talented man who should have a massive catalog. If you like atmospheric music, movie soundtracks or the work of the artists that I’ve listed above, you would do well to check out “Hunt.”
3. Distorted Soul
4. Two Sides
5. Winding Stairs
6. In Closeness