Amebix - Sonic Mass
2011, Easy Action Records
It's been a while since the last time Amebix released anything, and even though they seemed to be on a permanent hiatus for a long while, there must have been some sort of smouldering remnant left of the fires that used to rage in them, because now they're, finally, back with a new album. Last year they released an ep, as a taster I guess, but it kind of flew by me without making any real kind of dent. But fuck shit Christ Almighty this full length album is seriously killing me! I don't think I'm jumping the gun here when predicting that this will most assuredly be on many a year-round-up lists. It will definately be on mine. What the band has done here fucking boggles my mind. I can't properly express how wild, confusing, beautiful, dark, aggressive, deep, filthy and poly-levelled this album is. It's like the old Amebix, but with sprawling Cthulhu-ian octopus arms and trunks that reach much farther than the old band ever did. They now sound like Amebix circa 1985 mixed with bits and pieces of Killing Joke, Neurosis and a dozen other bands I can't think of at the moment. But it's still not a close enough description of what the band sound like. There are times at which they sound eeirily like their younger selves the way they sounded in songs like Largactyl, Nobody's Driving, Axeman and Drink And Be Merry; crusty rumbling metallic bass lines covered by rugged, barbed-wire guitars and vocals that makes children and senoir citizens pee themselves. At other times they're like some atavistic, mutant remnant from the dark, plastic, faux art decco caverns of the new wave-80's where synths paint deep dark murals over which sparse rumbling bass and clean guitars weave in and out. There are aucoustic parts, paired with clean somber vocals, as in the amazing title track and the equally stunning, fucking epic, opener Days and there are nasty flurries of filth and rage as in the massive, mauling Shield Wall or Sonic Mass Part 2. There are huge, monumental songs (not necessarily in length though - only three of the ten tracks are longer than five minutes) that take multiple listenings to even begin to take in and there are shorter, much more direct songs that hit you like a hammer. I am so excited by this album it's ridiculous. This is how music should make you feel. I just hope we won't have to wait another twenty-odd fucking years until the band releases another album. But if they do and it's anywhere near Sonic Mass, it'll definately be worth the wait.