20th October 2017 – Neurot Recordings
01. Children Of The Eye
03. Plus Près De Toi
05. A Solitary Reign
It has been five years since the last mass and we have much for which to atone. The world has changed, and so have Amenra; with the undertaking of several different projects, countless tours and split releases, it’s clear that the band have absorbed the very essence of these new influences into their latest Mass. Amenra cry out with a l’appel du vide – the call of the void – and we must answer that call.
On Mass VI, Amenra have solidified their mix of sludgy post-metal and the immediacy of the hardcore vocals; a blend that shows glimmers of their spheres of influence, but ultimately serves more to show off that the band are capable of stepping out of their comfort zone. Album opener “Children Of The Eye” leaps from what could be considered standard fare for the band into almost Sigur Rós-like territory, with a much more ambient approach and clean yet distant vocals. There’s a level of personal pain that cuts to the very core of the track with precision; following the successful battle of vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout’s son with the removal of a brain tumour, the track’s sense of personal catharsis is palpable, and unmistakably raw.
This new approach to what could be considered a pretty well trodden light/dark duality crafts an equilibrium that allows all of these emotions to unfurl in a sequence that, through this dynamic, eventually lead to an overwhelming calm. That isn’t to say that longtime fans of the band will be lost in this new approach, and for those who crave that classic approach the album finale “Diaken” has that in spades, but it’s with “A Solitary Reign” do Amenra once more become a force to be reckoned with. Those who have witnessed the spectacle of their live show will know just how sonically challenging but completely rewarding this experience can be, and it’s this track that comes the closest to recreating that. The slow build is almost cinematic, and at its crescendos is instrumentally discordant, with Colin H. van Eeckhout’s unparalleled croon clashing head on with his deathly growls – it’s a remarkable aural clash that adds further flavour to the already incredibly textured dynamics.
On Mass VI, Amenra haven’t exactly re-written the text book for post-metal, but they’ve continued their progression with an excellently composed exercise in crushing lamentation, with a remarkable attention to detail and harmony that goes almost completely unmatched by their contemporaries. This level of emotional catharsis is powerful, a journey that results in a sense of cleansing.