In the last 18 months, perhaps as a symptom of the hopelessness of the world we currently live in, Amenra have become one of my favourite bands. It’s hard to spot the correlation there (crushing desperation is comforted by crushing desperation perhaps?), but it’s undeniable. Amenra are an incredibly special band.
The first thing to establish about the music of Amenra is the atmosphere it creates. It’s like no other band I can think of. Suffocating, harrowing, and, yes, a sense of crushing desperation.
Founder and vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout’s voice is other worldly. Pained cries and wails, unlike any of the extreme metal vocal styles you’d anticipate. This is real. There’s no facade of aggression between us and them. There’s absolutely nobody vocalist on the planet that can hold a candle to the raw, unfettered vocals of CHVE. It would take a truly leviathan effort to produce music that felt worthy of soundtracking such vocals. And Amenra nail it. The guitars are enormous. In fact, the entire composition is utterly monstrous – a relentless wall of aural destruction.
But the true beauty of Amenra (and yes, it is absolutely beautiful) is the contrast. The dichotomy of these gargantuan steamrollers of passages and the gentler, calmer moments. Gently strummed guitars repeat over and over, and the vocals shift tone completely. Beautiful, softly delivered clean vocals comfort the listener but, if you are already familiar with Amenra, by this point the tension is palpable.
At any moment, this delicate, calming refrain will explode into those familiar crushing riffs and screams. And that release of aggression and tension will be cathartic.
Amenra will release their new album, De Doorn, in June 25 and it is easily one of my most anticipated albums of 2021.