Band: The Amenta
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: 19 February 2021
Format Reviewed: High-quality digital recording
Another week, another review and another easy-categorisation-defying band. As much as it does cause me some minor brain trauma to find the words to adequately describe some of these bands, I put the rod on my own back; I cannot deny that I like a bit of weirdness in my Metal dosage. So here goes again…
Sydney, Australia’s The Amenta might best be described as a marriage of Death and Industrial Metal. That’s certainly the case with this their fifth album anyway (the follow up to 2013’s Flesh Is Heir). Right from the word go, on opening track “An Epoch Ellipsis”, the band gets down to business with rapid-fire, pulverising mechanised drums, as if to weed out those who won’t get down with such an in-your-face percussive assault. And it’s certainly the case that on “Revelator” there are plenty of such battering passages, but what also becomes apparent within the first track is that the album is just as focussed on lengthy, weird, processed, ambient passages and a spacey darkness that sometimes evokes the Deftones and gives a big nod to Mike Patton.
The pacing of the album, between the full-on percussive batteries (found on the opening track, as well as parts of “Psoriastasis”, “Parasight Lost” and “Overpast”) combined with the dark, suggestive sleaziness of the more ambient parts (across all of which you can hear growled/ screamed vocals, or a dark, effects-laden croon) is well judged. Added to this mix, the band has a third side, a sleazy, Alt-Metal, sex-dungeon stomp that would be not out of place in some seedy underground bar playing NIN, and Marilyn Manson. “Twined Towers” might be my favourite example of the band blending all these elements together in one track; pulling the listener back and forth between a dark seduction and a straight up pounding. On “Silent Twin” meanwhile, the drums are out completely and we get a dark and brooding track of acoustic guitar and ambience that even has a bit of Alice In Chains about it, alongside the darkly seductive crooning.
In the end though, despite the well-thought out pacing, the dark, layered, atmospheric production and the well-delivered bursts of aggression, by the last few tracks I can feel I’m starting to fatigue. Taken on their own, there aren’t any clangers on this album (yes, some tracks are more memorable than others) but at the end of it all, as enticing as this creepy seduction can be, it isn’t necessarily all that likeable. On the other hand, not everyone needs to be liked and judging by promo photos and their music videos The Amenta aren’t out to try to win any beauty competitions, so good on them for doing it how they want to.
Altogether this album is definitely more enjoyable than not and it can’t be denied that the band creates a consistently dark atmosphere that will be a suitable soundtrack the next time you want to have your neighbours over for tea, crumpets and a spot of light S&M. 7.5/10 Tom Boatman.
7.5/10 Victory is possible
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