Staff Rating

4.60/5

User Rating

4/5

Amebix - Sonic Mass

Shostakovich   (109 reviews)

Posted: 10/05/2011 | Comments: 6 | Rate:

I think I would have a much less cynical view on reunions if every band came up with material of this caliber when they reunited.

Amebix are the legendary spearheads of a genre known as "crust". Originally, crust wasn't simply raging repetitive Discharge worship, but a large mix of influences from both the extreme metal and extreme punk spectra. Amebix was at the direct forefront of this. Their first album, "Arise!", was a harsh and raw affair, sounding something like Motorhead after spending a few months living in a smelly leftist communal house. By the record "Monolith" a heavy post-punk influence drenched the music, giving Amebix the perfect aura of bleak, hopeless punks who could still write a tune.

Soon after the band eroded and laid dormant for years, spending their time as heroes to the crust, punk, and metal worlds alike. Finally after a 2008 reunion, the band comes roaring back with what I would undoubtedly call their magnum opus.

Sonic Mass touches on all of Amebix's short career, and at the same time brings the sound into 2011. Rather than sounding trite or dated, the music smacks of guys who never gave up on the scene and who are maturing with the times. Instead of releasing some lame modernized bullshit and dragging the name through the mud, or rehashing old ideas a quarter century later and sounding like a stale tribute to their youth, the band wrote a record exactly how they wanted to, on their terms, and have hit a home run with it.

The first track is a beautiful acoustic piece, and sets the mood for a dark, somber album. With track 2, all hell breaks loose and the band starts pounding away with ungodly heavy tribal beats and strained throaty growls. Honestly, Baron Miller has never sounded better in his life. His voice is an absolutely fierce howl, along the lines of vocalists like Tom Warrior, Max Cavalera, and Dwid from Integrity.

Rarely does the music on this record gain speed beyond a slow headbanging churn. At this point in their career Amebix is proud to use songwriting to their advantage rather than speed. Punk purists might not ever understand this record, but an appreciative ear will probably get absolutely giddy over the layers of melody, harmony, and pure slow churn, gut wrenching crush of most of these songs. Some parts are downright beautiful, and some might even (gasp), pass as something you might hear on a radio station, though probably mostly relegated to some kind of "underground" segment. Don't get me wrong, this is no sell out. However, anyone expecting dumb D-beat nonsense is in for a rude awakening. And let them. That just means they'll be quiet and I can sit here and listen to this masterpiece in peace and quiet.

Highlight: "The One"

Home Follow on Twitter! Like on Facebook!

Comments
The shy retirer
14,553 Posts
31/M/WI
This was definitely different, but I guess I expected it. It definitely takes a few listens to sink in though.
I have no legs!
4 Posts
36/M/NA
Amazing record from a great band.
dogfood meatballs
6,430 Posts
39/M/NY
Originally posted by: PrimitiveBeat

Amazing record from a great band.



i'm kind of surprised this didn't get on more "best of" lists from that year. such a good album.
dogfood meatballs
6,430 Posts
39/M/NY
also, for anyone that hasn't gotten it yet:


.
dogfood meatballs
6,430 Posts
39/M/NY
i still listen to this whenever i'm jonesing for game of thrones, totally works.
dogfood meatballs
6,430 Posts
39/M/NY
the video they made for the last song on the album looks like a dream sequence from that show 'vikings'. lol


Log in or sign up to post a comment.