Long established as one of the greatest live acts on Earth, Amenra has also always had great, purposeful albums with heady concepts. Following their Mass titled albums I through VI, released over fourteen years, the band has rebirthed itself into a new final form. De Doorn begins their association with the mighty Relapse Records, continuously the arbiter of good taste for extreme music. From epic post-Metal, pastoral Folk motifs, moody post-Rock moments, to wicked eruptions of pain and grief stricken movements; Amenra’s music simultaneously feeds the brain and soul.
The title De Doorn translates to “The Thorn” and it’s up to the listener to decide if this thorn is being slowly, methodically inserted, or being swiftly removed. Either option can be painful, and Amenra envelopes the listener drama from the first note of this album to the very last. Masters of building atmosphere and the old-fashioned rave up, this record has plumed a new depth of vulnerability in their sound that is not surprising, but highly effective. This makes their eventual peaks of heaviness that much more explosive. There are many elements heard here that feel fresh and new, even if the band has been on this path for years.
From the ominous mellow intro of the first cut, your ears and brain are taken on a sonic journey you are likely not ready for. This is the table setter for everything to come and the track doesn’t really open up until it’s almost over. For the aforementioned new flavors, the entire album is sung in Flemish, which is not the most common tongue to inexperienced ears and gives the powerful grandiosity and weight meant to inspire. There is narration, almost like movie dialogue in spots, and female voices coo and harmonize as a balm offset the dire burning howls elsewhere.
Naturally it is within volleys of sounds sent from ear to ear, this album takes you to the lowest lows and highest highs mentally. The band has always been just scary good the way it creates; extreme oppressive waves of riffs and shrieks just gouge you all the way in the feels. These are expert music makers at every level, and everything on De Doorn feels naturally created, but unsettling all the same.
Graduated up from their past work, with a full-on Felini film nightmare psychosis inducing pace, De Doorn is set to reshape what you think you know about Amenra, Brilliant enigma Colin H. van Eeckhout and his cohorts turn in a spellbinding performance that only further cements this band as one of the hall-time greats.
Buy the album here: https://amenra.bandcamp.com/album/de-doorn
9 / 10