Amenra – De Doorn

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Difficult to listen to, from a strange and very special band. This could be a very brief description of Amenra’s new music venture. The Belgian sludge/doomsters since 1999 indulge in their own noise and in their discography there is a bunch of different releases. “De Doorn” may be just their fifth full-length work (and the first not to have the word “Mass” on the title) but they also have a number of live albums, EPs, splits and collaborations with other bands.

The sludge/doom of Amenra is obviously not for calm and carefree moments where you want to hear something to have a good time or just to bang your head. It’s dark, full of despair and of course it is addressed to a specific audience. Long durations, hypnotic rhythms, mournful guitars, massive bass and an atmosphere that engulfs you are the main elements that exist here. And yet, it could have easily won me if there was not a feature that I think would make other listeners to step away from Amenra.

And this is the vocals. When you listen to Colin H. Van Eeckhout, there are two ways: either you will love him or you will hate him. And guess which category I belong to. His desperate screams are not the easiest to hear. Luckily in some parts he uses clean ones but also recitations that made the listening much better, but when the screams came back I just waited for it to end. On the other hand, the ethereal vocals of guest Caro Tanghe (Oathbreaker) are amazing and create the contrast that I think the band sought.

So, as I said at the beginning, difficult listening mainly in the field of vocals since in the part of music the band could easily make me a fan of them, even if it has just five tracks with a total duration of 47 minutes. At least it made me curious to hear some of the band’s older works, to find out if there was different approach to Eeckhout’s vocals. To me, it is a pity that such loud (emotionally) music does not have the corresponding voice that can raise it even higher.