Amenra
Mass VI


5.0
classic

Review

by Chamberbelain USER (157 Reviews)
October 29th, 2017 | 120 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just listen to it.

Formed in the Belgian city of Kortrijk in 1999 by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove, Amenra pushes the boundaries of extreme music by appearing heavy in practically every conceivable manner; sonically, expressively and spiritually. Mass is mainly defined as a large body of shapeless matter or a number of people crowded together and considering the context of a band who has always focused on life’s darker themes- pain, misery, suffering, torment- it’s only prudent that all Amenra’s albums come with the prefix 'Mass'. No one evades the feelings that Amenra illustrates and often those sentiments are indescribable; how does one define a feeling when feelings are formless" The best cure is to come together and help each other.

Hence why it has been five years since the members of Amenra amassed to record another album, thus, 2017 marks the release of their sixth, shapeless, mellifluous, transcendent album. Overall, “Mass VI” is the most naked, raw, passionate album Amenra has released and dissecting it reveals how steeped it is with the trauma of personal tragedies from each band member. Acting more as a platform for self-reflection than an enjoyable listening experience for around 40 minutes, confrontation, acceptance, sympathy, bravery, apprehension and god knows how many other nouns define the feelings that Amenra emanate over the duration of “Mass VI”.

The instrumentation of their new album is simply colossal. As the guitars slither into the forefront of the mixing during “Diaken”, Colin’s vocals cower into the back beneath the oppressive weight of the riffs and the dominantly crushing feeling they emit. It’s as if the tidal strength and intrepid presence of these ensuing riffs temporarily extinguish the ferocity of his voice, especially when the lingering feedback suffocates the excruciating howls smothered underneath. Although, the tone that Amenra emanates isn’t suffocating to listen to. Admittedly, one of the band’s intentions is to act as a hopeful flicker of light to cling to in the immersive darkness but to translate that darkness, they produce a sense of utter helplessness by creating this overpowering presence through layered instrumentation and excruciating vocals. However, in “Children of the Eye” there is a sense of restraint where Amenra expose vast amounts of space for the comforting melodies to glide around naturally as if the band manage to catch a vital gasp of breath before the suffocating riffs drown out all sense of hopefulness once more.

Imprinted upon “Mass VI” is the battle that each member of Amenra has fought with their own tragedies. Like pain itself, the thing with this album is that nothing is ever permeant. Sludgy, driven riffs twist into uplifting melodies which in turn are trampled by colossal, bass-heavy rhythms and for every fleeting moment of joy, there is always a downcast riff or droning drum beat sewn into the spiritual texture of each song. Although every song translates this duality, “A Solitary Reign” is singularly heart-wrenching. Much like how the soaring guitars contrast the imperious bass lines, Colin’s plaintive cries intertwine with his excruciatingly desperate howls in the final minutes of the song to create a truly cathartic climax.

Every member gives the performance of a lifetime, collectively striving to create the band’s most compelling work to date. However, Colin’s presence and performance are truly captivating. After the monumental guitars and stormy tremolo in the French-sung “Plus Pres de Toi (Closer to You)”, he desperately sounds as if he is longing to grasp the slightest shed of light that the guitars radiate. So close yet so far; in sight but out of reach. Even during the brief interludes, the fact that they are sung in various languages says something about the universality that the effect music can have on everyone regardless of the limited concepts in life like race, nationality and sex.

Something, where each sound imitates a unique feeling to every person, is difficult to describe in a general sense. In essence, the ‘Mass’ prefix is designed to translate a feeling of togetherness. Whether it be a group of people coming together, someone understanding themselves or something shapeless attaining definition, Amenra’s task has always been to act as a force that does nothing other than to bind the things in life that try to tear us apart, be it people or feelings.



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user ratings (128)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
robotmagician (5)
I see distance in your eyes......


Comments:Add a Comment 
BlackwaterPork
October 29th 2017


1791 Comments


Great review, pos

Digging: CunninLynguists - Oneirology

Confessed2005
October 29th 2017


3909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review. Album is very good but I wouldn't consider it a 5.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Piglet
October 29th 2017


7450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very tight post metal, no complaints here with the album or the review. you did a good job of distilling the individual performances and furthermore the contexts in which they thrive.

Wildcardbitchesss
October 29th 2017


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best Amenra then? Idk why I haven't jammed this yet

Digging: Lovehoney - Feelin' No Way

Confessed2005
October 29th 2017


3909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just listened to this again. A Solitary Reign is brilliant. I love the clean vocals too.

Eames
October 29th 2017


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What genre is this? Sludge? Post-metal?

Wildcardbitchesss
October 29th 2017


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Both

Evokaphile
October 29th 2017


5952 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its an album alright

Digging: Chaos Moon - Eschaton Mmoire

StarlessCore
October 29th 2017


5456 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

lmfao

Digging: Potence - L'Amour Au Temps De La Peste

Thalassic
October 29th 2017


1031 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Party poopers in the house!

teamster
October 29th 2017


2050 Comments


StarlessCore...classy as usual.

Digging: Atlases (ROM) - Penumbra

deezer666
October 29th 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review man. Theyvre really evolved into their own without straying from what has always worked and made them such an important band for many people. As I said in another review I seem to be the only person who really likes this record that isnt enamoured with 'A solitary reign' The effects on the vocals take away a fragility about them which has always been part of the Amenra experience especially in the clean sung passages. Theres actually a couple of seconds that sound like its autotuned. Its not. Ive watched from close on Colins vox get better over the years but those few seconds I just cant shake out of my head. Its pretty annoying and how ive tried believe me. Other than that its another fantastic album.

Digging: Thantifaxath - Void Masquerading as Matter

BlackwaterPork
October 29th 2017


1791 Comments


So is this band just a worse version of neurosis?

deezer666
October 29th 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nope

BlackwaterPork
October 29th 2017


1791 Comments


Similar quality?

robotmagician
October 29th 2017


510 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Deezer, is the vocal part you mentioned that sounds auto tuned on the european and the us version? i guess it must be if it was natural. great review btw pos

Digging: Dreadnought - Bridging Realms

deezer666
October 29th 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Similar quality?'



Listen to what Scott Kelly thinks



https://youtu.be/6aVnGGhfXJU?t=9m14s

deezer666
October 29th 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Robot its when he starts to harmonize the high notes. Its both versions.

teamster
October 29th 2017


2050 Comments


Amenra kicks the shit out of Neurosis.

BlackwaterPork
October 29th 2017


1791 Comments


Shit, might have to give these guys a spin



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