Amebix
Sonic Mass


4.3
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
December 18th, 2011 | 65 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonic Mass stands as a meticulously crafted, genre-bending album that re-establishes Amebix as a major force to be reckoned with.

While discussing the best metal albums of the year, one should note the latest release of crust punk pioneers, Amebix. Sonic Mass ceases an over twenty-year-long hiatus of the Bristol-based trio which greatly influenced such coveted artists as Killing Joke and Neurosis alike. The new full length is hardly a return to their previous style being displayed on their 1980s classic releases. Amebix have significantly matured since then, which is acknowledged on the album's terrific opener when Rob Miller continuously repeats the line “these days will never come again” to the accompaniment of moody bass guitar, monumental keys and tribal drums. This pensive, deeply felt post-punk anthem serves as a perfect introduction to the otherwise turmoil-laden record.

Sonic Mass showcases great confidence at combining various musical worlds. The album seamlessly blends technical metal with ambience, tribal rhythms and the act's trademark crust punk. The abiding advocacy of Amebix has been successfully reawakened and finds itself realized in an intense collection of brutally fierce songs. “The Messenger” starts mysteriously only to transform into a monolithic cascade of frantic guitar riffs courtesy of Chris Miller. His brother, Rob delivers clanking bass lines along with harsh, yet sorrowful vocals that recall the work of Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke) sharing the same aesthetics. A new talented multi-instrumentalist and producer, Rob Mayorga proves to be an excellent addition by delivering combatively precise drumming.

The great musicianship would make no impact whatsoever if it weren't for versatile song craft. A timely religion critique of “God Of The Grain” is bolstered with vigorous groove metal riffing, while the addictive, chanted chorus of “Here Come The Wolf” encompasses hard rock at its very best. On the other hand, electronic touches on anthemic “The One” gives it the distinct industrial vibe, and “Knights Of The Black Sun” shifts into a full fledged post-rock in its highly atmospheric second half. However, the most surprising cut on the entire disc comes with pensive, mandolin-driven “Sonic Mass Part 1” which provides an emotionally affecting relief before a math metal outburst of its second instalment. The only track that falls short of expectations is “Visitation” that gets fairly tiresome with its sample-enhanced repetitiveness.

The politically charged lyrics along with polished production superbly compliment the group's sonic assault making it even more formidable than ever before. In fact, Sonic Mass is an invigorating album that firmly establishes Amebix anew as a major force to be reckoned with when it comes to ingeniously crafted heavy music.



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
porch
December 18th 2011


8460 Comments


not very good unfortunately



AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


16137 Comments


Yeah, this was pretty disappointing. Almost like a different band.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It's unlike their previous stuff, but I found the change really enjoyable.

God Of The Grain:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=152G5SBCYp4

Knights Of The Black Sun:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzTP0HXjs88

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

ShadowRemains
December 18th 2011


21315 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wasn't a fan

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Haha. Thanks a lot.

"People get stuck in the past too much"

^This. I couldn't agree more.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


16137 Comments


Yeah, that must be it.

Don't really have a problem with them doing something new. Just expected it to be a little... better,
I guess.

porch
December 18th 2011


8460 Comments


time to quit livin in the past and enjoy an album that sounds like bad killing joke



greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

This is more consistent than the last two Killing Joke albums imo.

Imperial
December 18th 2011


1738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gonna put this in my ear.

Tyrannic
December 18th 2011


3262 Comments


"Sonic Mass showcases the great confidence at combining various musical worlds."

Their?

solid review pos'd

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Thanks for pointing this out man. I just deleted 'the' and now it makes perfect sense.

Tyrannic
December 18th 2011


3262 Comments


haha, that works too.

wow, i liked this a lot more than i thought i would...

Imperial
December 18th 2011


1738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It feels like a mix between Amebix, Killing Joke and maybe a little bit of Gojira. I like.

Blackbelt54
December 18th 2011


4276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review

I don't know why this is getting hate, I think it rules, even though it sounds nothing like their old stuff

DDconjoined
December 18th 2011


327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this is a really great album.

Imperial
December 19th 2011


1738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh it's not bad. I'd be surprised if I went back for another listen though(I've listened to it 4 times).

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I'm glad you're digging this guys. This was unfairly overlooked on here when it came out.

DoubtGin
December 19th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

kinda ripping of Killing Joke, but I dig that sound so whatever



greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2011


7428 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It's true the vocals are very alike. The music is quite different though. Amebix are definitely more diverse.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2011


6269 Comments


Great review as always, pos.

That Voivod rec is most intriguing, to say the least.

Have it on my "to check" list, but its ingredients are fluctuating by the day.

Digging: Varathron - Untrodden Corridors of Hades



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