The Amenta released their debut album, Occasus
, in the July of 2004. Since then, The Amenta have become one of those bands that most have a hard time classifying. The general general consensus seems to be favor the Industrial Death Metal tag, but really they can be best described by their influences, such as Emperor, Zyklon, Behemoth and of course, Psycroptic (The mighty Haley brothers from Psycroptic make up part of The Amenta). I'm not sure just how Industrial they are though, as I'm not a big fan of that particular genre. If anyone feels like they can classify them better, your welcome to comment.
Anyway, onwards with the review. For the most part, Occasus is a brutally fast paced wall of sound. It's a little overwhelming upon the first couple of listens. The albums opener, Erebus is great example of what to expect for the next 42 minutes. The intensity of Dave Haley's drumming is amazing, with his double kick pounding relentlessly in the background. The guitars work well with the keyboards, and thereís a couple of moments where everything slows, throwing the keys right to the musicís forefront.
The album runs with this kind of sound for it's majority, building quite an intense, consuming atmosphere. I find it a little draining to be honest, leaving me feeling as though I've just listened to something much longer than 40~ minutes. The sound gets a little monotonous after a while I suppose, as this shouldn't really be a problem. There is enough variance within the album, let only each track, to prevent this from becoming much of a problem. The slow, electronic based tracks of Senium
add a nice ambience to the whole thing.
Instrumentally, everything is done to a pretty high standard. The Drumming is superb, and will live up to any expectations created as a result of hearing Dave Haley's (Diazanon) work with other bands. His use of double kick is exceptionally good here, as previously mentioned. Joe Haley (Ethion) (the second half of the Haley duo) does a great job on the guitar as well. He isn't quite as impressive as he is with Psycroptic, but that's not to be expected here. He's toned down his playing a little in order to blend better with the rest
of the band, and he does that well.
It should also be noted that The Amenta use alternative names for themselves. Unfortunately the bass work of Endrin is a little drowned out, but is good when it can be distinguished amongst the chaos. Chlordane on keys is good, playing a large part in creating the atmosphere described earlier. His work during the albums slower moments is where he is really allowed to shine though. And finally, the vocals of Cessium 137. They aren't bad, but they aren't anything to get excited about. He sticks to his mid-range growl throughout the album, and thatís it really. Being a little more diverse would work to his advantage.
I must also mention the albums 5th track, Nihil
. It's a true standout on
. It's well written, and is easily the most memorable song for first time listener. It's available for download on their official website, and I recommend giving it a listen.
Overall, the album is definitely a solid first release. Most seem to rate it higher than I do, so we will see how that works out here. I see it as the groups first album, and get the impression is was created by a band that was yet to firmly find their feet. It's their next release that will showcase what The Amenta can really do, as they will have hopefully discovered their
sound. Until then, Occasus
will satisfy most, and is recommended to any fans of the artists mentioned in the opening paragraph.