Live, ConSouling Sounds
October 2nd, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric Sludge
It's coming up on the release date for Mass V, which is up for preorder right now from Soul Slayer and Neurot Recordings. Until then we have a live record of theirs.
Eight tracks in total from four different rituals from 2007 to 2010, each show recorded and mixed by different people. The first three (De Dodenakker—Nemelendelle, Your Shapeless Pain, Aorte—Ritual) are from the visceral live show on 23.10.09 in Belgium which were captured and released on their infamous dvd, as well as their four part 7" split series.
"Your Shapeless Pain" is easily one of my favorite Amenra songs, and hearing it altered and slowed down slightly live makes it even more powerful. "Ritual" includes guest musicians from Oathbreaker (Caro on vocals, Gilles on guitar, Kristoffer on bass, Thomas on percussion) who they've toured with often and are fantastic musicians; Caro's vocals are great especially in the context of this song. A little different from her style in Oathbreaker.
The extension of this track is wonderful — as Colin is hoisted up on the chains and members of Oathbreaker are slowly added to the stage, creating a thick layer of spellbinding chugging and pounding drums, to the final moment when Caro screams Colin's lines: "Chains encircle my broken wrists — but we can get out of them now!" Deeply cathartic.
I've already given my appraisal of the dvd and the songs on it in a previous Amenra related post (on the re-press of Mass III-II and the various splits), so I shouldn't need to say much. They're much more impacting with the footage mind you, but the weight is still clearly represented regardless.
The switch in the first track, just when the final throes of De Dodenakker begin to ramp up to those crushing riffs, to the final hypnotic riff in Nemelendelle is a great touch. The two tracks melt together seamlessly, replacing one set of excellent riffs for another.
The next three tracks (Thurifer, Silver Needle Golden Nail, Razoreater) are from a 2010 show in the Netherlands. Track s7 (Nemelendelle) is from a 2007 show in Belgium, and track 8 (Am Kreuz) is from a 2009 show yet again in Belgium. The performances here do not disappoint, and are a great selection of tracks from their best albums. Especially Thurifer, Razoreater and Am Kreuz. Hearing Nemelendelle in full as opposed to the spliced version in the first track is great as well.
I'm a fan of anything Amenra as you probably know already, so what should I say about this? The bass feels a little underrepresented in the mix on the first three tracks but I don't have many other complaints. The track list is excellent and the additions to songs here and there make things more interesting too. Colin's vocal style is probably my favorite at this point in time, and he loses none of his tortured and agonized tone live; if anything these qualities are heightened.
I've still yet to see Amenra live but this coupled with the dvd is all I have to experience until the day comes I can witness one of their rituals.
Definitely a good representation of their art in live form. I suggest you guys grab this one if you're a fan of their work. You can get a copy from Soul Slayer's store and at ConSouling Sounds, its packaging is as lovely as the sounds within. It looks like stock is running out so grab it quick if you want one.