Amenra     

Mass V
Neurot Recordings
2012

These Belgians have perfected the art of doom-laden post hardcore.  On Mass V, their fourth full-length, Amenra effortlessly create an atmosphere of desolation and gloom using thin guitars and strained vocals.  Dearborn and Buried begins with stark clean guitars and builds upon them until mountainous riffs arrive like the rumbling of distant thunder.  Traditional doom riffs, paced with lethargic drums and cutting, tormented vocals continue to languidly bludgeon your ears.  The pulse of the song quickens though there is never a gleam of hope present.  A long period of near silence sets the tone as Boden enters your consciousness.  Cyclopean undulations in the form of riffs crest from the dark abyss as the song coalesces.  The riffs break up slightly into something along the lines of a crusty funeral march where angles of discordant melodies slice along the shadows.  The track, calmly drifts back into a near-silence, filled with foreboding.  But this period is short-lived and is obliterated by slow-motion Amebix style riffs accented by notes of sorrow.  This riff that starts at the 7:48 mark of the song is my favorite moment on the whole album.  Next up is A Mon Ame which continues to flow with the same style, with thin guitars that also have a degree of sludginess to them.  Obfuscating darkness shelters a laggard and fluid structure that builds upon itself to finally overwhelm the listener with crushing guitars and barren instrumentation.  However, clean, mournful vocals lend a spiritual feeling to the initial stage of the song.  The composition falls into a fragile movement of clean guitars, providing time to ponder the hopelessness summoned within your soul by the music.  Sparse guitar and clean vocals tug at your heart as Nowena | 9:10, the final track, begins.  All of a sudden a massive wall of ashen guitars falls upon you, smothering you with their weight after shocking you with their abrupt arrival.  The pace shrinks and extends like an accordion throughout the track.  A constant chugging of sludgy riffs propels the song towards its conclusion.  Amenra is essential a hardcore band playing doom and therefore it creates a different, distinct foundation on which their sound is built.  The album instills a sense of isolation and darkness upon the listener.  On Mass V, all is desolation.  A world without hope or light.