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Amenra - Mass III CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.74 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Dark repetitive doom angst. This Belgian band would hardly be categorized as progressive by any of its fans. But they fit well enough into the post metal battalions of Neurosis and the likes. More importantly, this is a compelling and mature album that is powerful and diverse enough to deserve its place amongst the better known artists in this field. At times, this album is even more extreme and intense then Neurosis.

The music is rhythmical and repetitive, dissonant and harsh. No, this band takes no prisoners and produces a wall of sound that spirals right to the darkest places in the human soul. It's the sound of fear, terror and dark nihilism. The Pain sounds as if the stoner band Kyuss were surprised by a raging thunderstorm in the middle of the desert, all colours have drained from the sky and the desert dust has become one thick and filthy mess of mud. With relentless energy the band tramples through the grime. Honestly, that's what it sounds like.

Nemelendelle is a phonetic transcription of the Western Flanders dialect for 'heaven and hell', it could teach Neurosis a lesson in playing slow doom sludge progressions. The presence of the 80's anarchistic nihilism of Swans is never far off neither. I have yet to discover where the 'heaven' might be in this desolate soundscape. Die Strafe gives a hint. Halfway in, an eerie whispered female vocal adds a touch of melody and serenity. It only makes the darkness around it even more chilling. It would be a good track to sample. Also Le Fils des Faux mixes their heavy attack with a more melodic element, this time an entrancing male chant that reminds me of Enslaved's pagan hymns Eld. The two closing tracks date from an earlier recording session called Mass II. They are less opaque and reveal more post-rock influences. A good inclusion.

Amen Ra are an uncompromising and downright terrifying live experience of the kind that you would deem impossible to render in the studio. But they have managed to capture all their anger and dense energy very well on this studio recording. A recommended extreme/experimental metal item.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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