Amebix
Arise!


4.5
superb

Review

by Brendan M. USER (36 Reviews)
June 23rd, 2014 | 10 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After seven years as a band, Amebix craft a near masterpiece with their debut LP.

Going into this review, I imagined putting my thoughts about this album onto paper wouldn’t be very difficult. I knew Amebix had a very unique sound, but I didn’t think it would come to these proportions. I’m not exaggerating when I say this review took over a month to get to this point, so without further ado, let’s dissect this album a bit. Amebix are known for pioneering the crust punk genre, which has always stayed deeply underground. Lots of the modern crust bands still use old-school methods such as tape trading to get their music heard, due to this underground status, but the music itself is also quite interesting. The general sound involves growled or shouted vocals, a mix of extreme metal and hardcore punk in the instrumental section, and very raw production. Now, Amebix on the other hand, certainly possesses this sound, but they put a very unique spin on it.

Amebix had been a band for seven years at this point, releasing three EPs and getting their music out through word of mouth. After finally signing to Alternative Tentacles though, they would release their debut LP. At this point, their sound had evolved into something that was truly one of a kind, with one of the most intense atmospheres I could think of. Going into this, I expected punk rock that would be bordering on thrash metal, which is sometimes inside this, but what I found was more similar to Neurosis than anything else. The atmosphere they present is very war-like, with plodding tempos, growled vocals with very dark lyrics, and the overall density of sound, again, in the vein of Neurosis, who formed years later, and cited Amebix as an influence. Now, enough comparisons, but Arise is quite literally one of the most unique metal albums I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, due to this indescribable atmosphere.

As for the actual instrumentation and all that, the songs are generally somewhat dynamic, with very dissonant guitar playing, shouted vocals, and great drum work. Arise is definitely not a riff-based album, but it does have lots of tasteful riffs that will satisfy any metalhead. Beyond this, the album is still very hard to describe, due to its unique sound. The drum work is occasionally tribal, which adds to the war-like atmosphere. Lyrically, the album is somewhat typical of the crust punk genre, with lyrics detailing real life topics such as war, oppressive governments, and mental illness. Certain songs are very loud and fast, such as “Axeman” and “Largactyl”, but others verge on Pink Floyd-ish such as “Drink and Be Merry” and “The Moor”. The slower songs generally have more atmospheric value to them, with some Joy Division influence being felt quite strongly. The faster ones borrow more from Celtic Frost, as to be expected. All these elements combined, create a very rich, yet black atmosphere, which could basically be described by the cover.

So, there you have it. I would not hesitate to call this one of the most important, influential, and just plain greatest punk rock albums ever. Amebix possess a sound I still haven’t heard quite replicated, only through bands such as Neurosis, once again. I went in expecting thrash metal influenced punk rock, and what I got was much different, and almost genre-less. The only thing keeping this from being a full on masterpiece is that the amount of fast songs isn't balanced out by slow songs, which results in a lack of much diversity. But, every song does it's job well enough. The atmospheric value is where Arise truly succeeds though, with the album cover describing it best. So overall, one of the more difficult reviews I’ve ever written, and one of the best punk rock albums ever.



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user ratings (106)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
June 23rd 2014


8743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not so sure about this review, since it was so damn hard to write. But, this review was years overdue. Feedback is welcome!

RoundOnEndHiInMiddle
June 23rd 2014


329 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This seriously did need a review. Good job, it's a pretty challenging album to hear. Have a pos!

Digging: Aesop Rock - Daylight

ExplosiveOranges
June 23rd 2014


3185 Comments


Yup, never heard of this band either. Good review though.

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

BMDrummer
June 23rd 2014


8743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Go listen, nao

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2014


16455 Comments


Just a little nitpick - try to avoid talking about how hard the review was to write. Save that for the comments section, it's more of a community piece to talk about that kind of stuff. Otherwise it was a solid review, this isn't really my thing but I got a decent idea of what to expect if I were to give it a chance.

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

BMDrummer
June 23rd 2014


8743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I guess, but it seemed a bit necessary to describe the feeling the album leaves you with.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2014


16455 Comments


No I get that, and I'm all about infusing personal elements into your writing. I was more getting at
the sentences like this: I’m not exaggerating when I say this review took over a month to get to
this point, so without further ado, let’s dissect this album a bit
and So overall, one of the
more difficult reviews I’ve ever written, and one of the best punk rock albums ever
.

But like I said, I'm picking at minor details. Ask anyone, it's what I do and I'm almost always just
trying to help =) The review is decent, overall.

BMDrummer
June 23rd 2014


8743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok, that makes sense, but I'll keep it for now :]

DikkoZinner
July 11th 2014


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Relax..it's only paranoia

BMDrummer
August 31st 2014


8743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is verging on a 5 now



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