Amenra
Mass III


4.5
superb

Review

by Praefectus Asiam CONTRIBUTOR (72 Reviews)
October 2nd, 2016 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All rise please, the sermon's about to start.

I feel like I’ve wasted days trying to ascertain what exactly about Mass III makes it such a compelling listen. The main demon to do battle with is its musical simplicity. Sitting firmly in the sludgier end of the post-metal spectrum means the Belgians don’t devote a lot of time to making pretty soundscapes and twinkly climaxes.; instead, their modus operandi is to mix tar-slow, regularly repeated hardcore riffs with equally languorous percussion, feeling like a halfway house between a funereal dirge and angsty diatribe. It’s not the most vocally rangy album either. While there are some clean vocals, crooning in the background of ‘Am Kreuz’ and taking centre stage in ‘Le Fils des Faux’ and the creepy first half of ‘Ritual’, the vast majority of Colin van Eeckhout’s performance consists of an agonised, throaty roar, opting for sheer power over anything more musical. Especially considering all but one track stretches over the seven-minute mark, every technical analysis I’ve made throws out the same response: this album should be too simple for its own good, let alone make further listens an inviting prospect.

Yet, the sum of Mass III’s parts is truly mesmerising. The album’s repetitive nature is entrancing as opposed to boring, drawing the listener into what is effectively a sermon – a macabre, hyper-devotional sermon spearheaded by the harrowed van Eeckhout. Whether he’s screaming bloody murder or taking a more sensitive, calculated approach, there’s an uncomfortable conviction in every word that leaves his mouth (made more uncomfortable still when considering many lyrics contain themes of self-mutilation, metaphorical or otherwise), one that keeps the listener hooked as blindly as the best orators. Where the music is so simple, every nuance they utilise is that much more appreciable; for example, most of the time using two different sounding drums would go almost unnoticed, yet in ‘Am Kreuz’ the rhythmic clanging adds an industrial yet saddening je ne sais quoi to one of the album’s subtler moments. Amenra’s less-is-more attitude is exemplified in the second half of ‘Némelèndèlle’, as van Eeckhout’s desperate roars and a little post-rock influence provide the only reprieve from a sole, morose riff repeated for nearly 5 minutes. A half-arsed approach would make this tedious, but instead it proves to be one of the album’s (possibly even one of the genre’s) finest moments, by virtue of their seemingly unrelenting enthusiasm to their cause.

Indeed, it’s this enthusiasm, if it can be called that, that sells this hardcore/sludge amalgam; too bleak to feel malicious, yet still too unhinged to feel comfortable even for a second. Mass III is the kind of album that leaves that tense feeling in your chest, where the air never quite seems to leave but you can’t ever get it out - leaving it to thicken, to stagnate, to suffocate. Parts will stand out, but it’s the unceasing feeling of desolation that lingers, long after the fever pitch of ‘Ritual’ breaths its last.



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user ratings (138)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review number 60! :D

I honestly only wrote this so I have a place to shitpost about how good Némelèndèlle is on a monthly/weekly basis :] Any comments, suggestions or corrections as always greatly welcomed.

Check it out here if you haven't already -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cTLD3ywchE

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


9958 Comments


Great review, sounds very interesting and I'm a fan of simple-but-effective so I'll give this a whirl asap.

"vocally rangy" - ayyy

Digging: Herrwulf - Heathen Spring

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really tried to come up with a better phrase than that, I really did :[

Thanks! Hope you dig it, I think it's pretty glorious.

Flugmorph
October 2nd 2016


15898 Comments


All rise please, the salmon's about to start.

Digging: Oxbow - Thin Black Duke

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


6094 Comments


was thinking the other day that this needed a review, so, nicely done. reads well; pos

the comma after "days" in the first sentence seems off to me tho

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I'm umm'd and aaah'd about that so I have no qualms taking it out. Thanks :]

EDIT: Tidied up the first sentence in general, was a bit of a mess all round.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


9958 Comments


Oh congrats on 60 by the way (:

EvoHavok
October 2nd 2016


6707 Comments


Interesting read. Pos'd.

Digging: Sunless - Urraca

Thalassic
October 2nd 2016


584 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

finally this fantastic album got a (great) review

have a pos

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2016


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks ya beauts :]

I reckon this must have had a review at some point, but, similar to Fall of Efrafa's 'Inle', it got deleted in a permaban or something.

BallsToTheWall
October 30th 2016


47668 Comments


This is so fucking beautiful.

Digging: Burial Hex - The Hierophant

MasBarHigeuoris21
November 11th 2016


1757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is one of post-metal's finest

deezer666
December 25th 2016


2073 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Moved up to a 5 on this classic fk it

Digging: People Without Shoes - Thoughts Of An Optimist



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