Amenra have achieved cult status in their near two decades of existence, unleashing a sound that manages to unearth a deep and profound beauty within darkness, building their notoriety with every release of a Prayer, Mass or Sermon, alongside strong foundations for Church of Ra, encompassing the likes of Oathbreaker and The Black Heart Rebellion. With their raw and emotively moving live performances, coupled with their collaborations with the likes of VVounds, Eleanora and Treha Sektori, it was only a matter of time until a label such as Neurot stood and took notice in 2012 – Amenra have earned their right to stand alongside Neurosis.
‘Mass VI’ is absolutely enormous – almost overwhelming at times. Eeckhout’s vocals are harrowing and tortured at their most extreme, while his gentler cleanly sung chorals are soft and melancholic – the juxtaposition of dark against light is prevalent throughout this record. ‘Children of the Eye’ is a maelstrom of unbridled primitive adrenaline, while ‘Plus Pres De Toi’ is beautifully sorrowful and filled with passion. The pure majesty of this album was captured by the infamous Billy Anderson – when considering that he’s responsible for albums such as Neurosis’ ‘Through Silver in Blood’, Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker’, Eyehategod’s ‘Dopesick’, Cathedral’s ‘Endtyme’ and Brutal Truth’s ‘Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom’ it’s easy to imagine the sheer force of ‘Mass VI’ before you’ve even pressed play.
The band have effortlessly crafted a masterpiece – the very foundations of how this release was put together hint at greater things – this entire opus was recorded in the Belgian Ardennes, a region of thick forests in the south-east of the country, where the band was snowed in for a week. Bleak yet beautiful renderings of a dead hare and swan adorn the album artwork – created by Stephan Vanfleteren – the perfect visual to sum up the dark and brooding currents existing within the songs. Amenra prove with ‘Mass VI’ that they are more than worthy of the high regard held for them within the industry. This album is an instant a classic.
(10/10 Angela Davey)