With their new album into its final stages of recording and with an early 2013 release date in the planning, Australian extreme noise metalers The Amenta have made the wait more bearable with the unleashing of the Chokehold EP. A five track release consisting of a brand new song, a cover, two live tracks and a remix, it is a muscular intrusion to devour eagerly. For those new to the band it is a great introduction and for existing fans a collection of songs which feel more than a mere stop gap until the arrival of Flesh Is Heir next year.
Chokehold follows the 2011 release VO1D which saw the first recordings with of at the time new vocalist Cain Cressall. The new EP is similar in its construction of content to its predecessor but hard to tell how reflective it will be of the forthcoming album. One gets the feeling it is giving mere hints though going by history and this new EP one can always expect something of immense quality senses startling.
In the sheet accompanying Chokehold, Tim Pope (samples, keyboards) from the band says the new album “Flesh is Heir is a refinement, progression and deconstruction of The Amenta’s sound. A very guitar-centric album, as a reaction to the deliberately abstract nature of n0n.” The title track gives a definite aural picture to his words and though the trademark maelstrom of discordant and unbalanced melodies, destructive noises, and intrusive electronics are still there, the music carries a surer caustic bruising and scarring through the guitars than on the mentioned 2008 album of ambient electronic destruction.
Chokehold the song crashes the ear immediately with a gnarly corruptive grinding on bone and cartilage. Instantly oppressive and openly abrasive the track ferments and blisters within the senses breaking down resistance whilst brewing an increasing addiction to its overwhelming violating sounds. The guitar of Erik Miehs is a sadistic venomous Zorro, swiping through the air with sharp acid dripping strokes whilst bassist Dan Quinlan prowls and stalks sanity with a ravenous yet patient heavy pulsating presence. With beats and rhythms from drummer Robin Stone igniting and disorientating synapses, the track consumes and infests with a suffocating majesty spread further by the corrosive tones of Cressall. The song envelops with a tempest of sound which brings essences of the likes of Fear Factory, Young Gods, Ministry, Society 1, and Godflesh, whose track the band cover next up, into an abusive compelling destruction. It is a stunning track which whether it gives strong indication of what is to come on the new album or not heightens anticipation.
Christ Bait Rising like the opener is said to have been ‘recorded and produced with a modern take on Godflesh’s influential ‘Street Cleaner’ album’s sound and aesthetic.’ What it does do is ignite and further rub raw the wounded senses and emotions caused by the first track. It is another sprawling and sonic scathing of all things safe, bringing a fresh breath and energy let alone intent into an already great track. Not as impressive as Chokehold it still leaves one gasping and reeling under the disruptive onslaught of noise and shows The Amenta a band inspired by and respectful to one of the instigators of noise.
The two live tracks are in many ways more impressive than what came before. Seken and Vermin in their raw state showing the band as one of the most powerful on stage around and able to realise their imaginative and defined elements just as strongly as they produce live crippling intensity and sounds. They also force a definite decision to catch the band live if and when they touch and spoil Europe and the UK.
A remix of Void from VO1D closes the release, its atmospheric ambience and serpentine electronic manipulations a sonic paint stripper upon the ear and beyond. Compulsive and ruining the track like the rest only leaves deep satisfaction in its wake.
Released via Listenable Records, Chokehold is a great snack before the main meal of Flesh is Heir though it also leaves an impatient hunger behind, one only The Amenta can satisfy.
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