Amenra offer an interesting and dense cacophony of butchered vocals and heartbeat like guitars which blend together to make, a brutal onslaught that has you head banging in your room and your new neighbours wondering whether they should have installed that duplex security package that they thought may have been overkill. Hailing from Belgium, Amenra are well... Amenra. Yes I know technically they're probably sludge metal with some inflections of some other genre, Post Rock if you agree with their websites assessment. But Amenra are to me are just angry, very very angry. But not angry in a Slipknot `I'm going to kill you and smash you up` way, more in a misanthropic, doomy, I miss my dog laddy and am now going to kill Lara Croft for an hour (spaced reference!) kinda way.
If that does not make any sense listen to this song as an example.
I admit for some people this introduction may be too long, but really it's about building that sound and phrase pattern up to a level that when you start hitting your full power chords and distortion it just explodes! It's that feeling that you get at a really lively metal gig and the audience is rocking on the balls of their feet waiting for the wave to crash. That nervous, aggressive energy that makes you lose yourself.
The guitars produce a thick and textured sound that causes you to unconsciously pulse along with them. Halfway between shoe gazing and frenetic the apathetic and melancholy sound that permeates this song just drags you along with it.
The drums are also fairly minimal but they beat a tattoo that only heightens this primal pulse bringing us down to this skull cracking despair.
The chords may be simple, the structure may be minimal and the lyrics unintelligible but I'm not sure that matters. What matters is this feeling that this song is pushing on you. It's hard to describe that mad destructive energy that these guys channel but they do it so well!!
From Birth to Grave
This song's introduction is more miasmic than Boden's. Again a simple pattern is repeating, forming a quick and immediate rapport and familiarity with audience. Like slowly opening your eyes after a deep sleep the images slowly coalesce, the structure and colour seeping into your awareness.
The soft feedback plays the part of harbinger, slowly creating tension in this piece. These guys may like to build and build their songs but this dynamic is sometimes missed in metal. Songs often go for the quick payoff of 0-10 in the first bar, but if you build up the layers well the results can be striking!
The feedback starts to clarify switching pitches, mimicking the tide of the sea. Suddenly the tide recedes and everything ebbs away only to come crashing back against the sea wall. The snare sound is sharp and piercing, precisely what's needed to punctuate this thick and gelatinous cobweb of driving chords. The guitars grinding you down like a steam engine, all oil and soot.
Again everything fades and drops away, the silence left behind is almost unbearable after the onslaught of nihilistic riffing.
So there you go. Two songs from a band I would love to see live.
In short Amenra aren't a quick payoff, you need to work with them but I believe that if you give them a little time it'll be worth the effort!
Ah, it's good to be back!
What do you think? Can you recommend anything similar? Do you agree with my descriptions? Leave me a comment below!
Shai Hu Lud returns to thumbing through his Arrakis Year Book...