I can smell smoke.....
The Amenta – Flesh is Heir
Formed in 1997, The Amenta was originally an Australian black metal band called Crucible of Agony and released 2 demos under that name. The band were renamed to The Amenta in 2001and the following year the band released their first E.P ‘Mictlan’ on Dissident Records. In 2003 they signed a deal with Listenable Records and released their first studio album ‘Occasus’. The band were awarded the ‘Best Metal Newcomers’ award in 2004 and their album was described as “a barrage of speed-riffs” by journalists. Another album, E.P, some member changes and many tours later the band is just about to release their newest offering ‘Flesh is Heir’ (a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet I think) on March 22nd.
Truth be told I was expecting this release to have a dominant black metal vibe, and it does to an extent, but there’s so much more going on than I was prepared for. The tracks on ‘Flesh is Heir’ have a generous sprinkling of death metal and even some progressive elements at times too. ‘Teeth’ for example is laden with pummelling blast beats and discordant blackened death metal riffage. The Gojira-esque shrieking harmonics give the track an extra layer of viciousness and the tight double bass drumming really accents the already heavy as hell riffage, I mean who doesn’t like hammering bass drums? No-one that’s who. ‘Obliterate’s Prayer’ again has a heavy Gojira vibe to begin with but soon transcends into a pit of bludgeoning rifferey and murky vocal screams. The Gojira reference swings back round on the chorus with vocalist Cain Cressall sounding very much like Joe Duplantier with his tonal style screams.
All in all I thought this was a solid album with a good balance between grooves, savage speed and big choruses. The production on ‘Flesh is Heir’ is a pretty powerful one and it really assists in making the tracks come alive.
For me tracks like ‘The Argument’ and ‘Cell’ didn’t really have the same stomach blow as some of the albums earlier moments, they kind of just passed by without making an impact, but thankfully at the back of them was ‘Disintegrate’ which was just like a shower of pelting bass drums, huge bleak guitar riffs and visceral vocals.
The Amenta are on to a good thing and this album is definitely one to be checked out if you are a fan of the blackened death metal sound. I’d be really interested to see this band in a live situation, because if those epic riffs are anything like they are on CD then I’m sure it would be something worth witnessing.