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Amenra: Mass V

The first track on this album takes over two minutes to hit listeners with its main musical ideas. Even though it's one of the longest wind-ups I've ever heard, I liked it, especially for the slowness of development and its somewhat menacing rhythmic strumming. Part of the sound is a rhythmic "plink-plunk" of something that could be the strumming of muted guitar strings (played way up on headstock) but could reasonably be something else entirely. When the song explodes into its full aural assault, it is strong and forceful, pushing everything else from the mind and leaving room only for this. The vocals are basically wrenching screams that escalate the intensity and impact of the music very quickly. At times, the vocals calm down, offering listeners a soft-spoken narration. No matter the mood of the vocals, this is a very intense release, one that pushes hard on the listener until the final notes.

As I prepared to write this review, I listened to this album close to four times. I don't always need so much exposure to an album before beginning to formulate my ideas, but I couldn't quite decide how to describe my experience with this album. I admired its consistent intensity and ambition, but lost my patience with the length of the songs. I don't mind ten-minute songs, but they have to be pretty great to keep my (or anyone's) attention. Amenra, in my view, is best at establishing musical moods. On this album, they mostly work with large, expansive, chords with plenty of sustain. Part of me loves that sound, the way it brings to mind endless sources of energy tinged with feelings of despair. I could have done with more variety in the vocals, mostly because I don't find listening to long passages of what basically amounts to screaming to be very engaging. Check out, though, the way the vocals take on a kind of hypnotic quality about halfway through "Dearborn and Buried." I'd like to see these guys do more to establish the power of the voice as a means of creating their musical meanings.

Track listing:
1. Boden
2. Dearborn and Buried
3. A Mone Ame
4. Nowena I 9.10

Added: December 28th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2060
Language: english

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