Standing over the ear like a colossus and preying on any weakness it finds, Flesh is Heir the new album from Australian extreme metallers Amenta is a leviathan of craft and intensity. Bringing harsh exploration and black hearted adventure in all it offers, the release is one of the most scintillating and frightening aural predators to emerge in quite a time.
Formed in 2002 by Erik Miehs (guitars) and Timothy Pope (noise and fx), The Amenta has moved on massively since their initial black metal invention, their sound evolving and gaining an almost organic life of its own as through their releases the band stretched and pushed not only themselves and the listener into darker nastier and more rewarding corners, but extreme metal itself. Making an immediate impression with their Mictlan MCD the year of forming, the band next signed with Listenable Records who released their debut album Occasus in 2004, the record showing a sense of avant-garde irreverence and boundary challenging brutal invention which has expanded and brought the Sydney based quintet to the fore of experimental and uncompromising aural devastation. Through the likes of n0n in 2008 and the EP Chokehold of 2012, as well as V01D which was a collection of re-recorded older tracks, instrumentals and remixes and released a year earlier than the EP, the band has unleashed a continuing and growing furnace of deep anger, violent malevolence, and rapacious invention. Flesh is Heir is the pinnacle of that and their creativity so far, an album which is schizophrenic in its touch and overwhelming in its breath, but most of all a towering tsunami of dangerous imagination which simply consumes the passions.
From the opening avalanche of sound and intensity of the title track, Flesh Is Heir ravages the senses and emotions, its collision of all strains of extreme noise and craft honed into an onslaught of insidious manipulation and intrusion. It opens on, in hindsight after what follows throughout the album, a relatively restrained embrace, the guitar of Miehs gently gnawing on the ear with sonic persistence whilst riffs offer a scathing stare backed up by the heavy tones of bass from Dan Quinlan. It is slightly unsettling but with enough respect to allow the listener to take a grip before the sense of impending ferocity. As the guttural growls and throaty of scowls of Cain Cressall step into the mix with pure intimidation and the rhythms of drummer Robin Stone cage and press with raptorial pedigree, the track seems to take one deep breath before savaging the senses . It is a feral intensity driving the creative and perpetually shifting attack, the band coming at its victim from all angles and depths for a full submission whilst rewarding with striking and enriching imagination. There is a beauty to the song which seduces, guided by the excellent temptation of Pope and his keys, whilst the rest of the track vociferously chews on the emotional carcass.
Through Ego Ergo Sum and Teeth, the release continues to dazzle and intrude, the first capturing the imagination with an electronic ambience of haunting temptation within another ferocity of unpredictable and thrilling enterprise wrapped in annihilatory intensity whilst its successor has a psychotic bedlamic heart which excites and disorientates whilst once more leaving the deepest scars with its primal animosity and barbarity. Whereas the second song on the release is a strong companion to the opener this track lifts the band and album to another level of threatening enticement such its delicious invention drenched in carnal hunger. From the song the instrumental A Womb Tone takes over and it is sensational. The keys of Pope taking emotions through a hypnotic yet nightmarish realm, the suffocating ambience and distorted breath from the resonating pulse of the piece, the darkest compelling shadow and fear to endure and greedily enjoy.
As songs such as the industrial tinged merciless Sewer, the sonically engaging but wholly vicious The Argument, and the scintillating Cell, unveil their malicious beauty a full rapture for the album is ignited. It is a challenging and uncomfortable journey but as evocative and enthralling as possible, the latter of this trio of songs especially engrossing with its soundscape of emotional struggle and ingenious sonic bred alchemy. Lyrically the album stems from ‘the constant war in the human psyche between the faction that desires obliteration and the faction that struggles in the mud’, and this song is just one triumph laying the ugly side of man in a rapturous irresistible lure.
Passing through the maiming assault of Disintegrate and another riveting distressed ambient world of instrumental A Palimpesest, the album offers a final triumph in Tabula Rasa, the track a fire of crippling rhythms, carnivorous riffs, and synapse scoring sonics all held in rein by the exhausting vocal attack of Cressall. It completes an outstanding and inspiring album which fires up the passions and sets a high plateau for other extreme noise protagonists to aim for, though there will be few to equal the impressiveness of The Amenta right now one suspects.
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