Hypertension Records concludes their The Abyss Stares Back series with the fifth and final release featuring a unique collaboration between Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Mathieu Vandekerckhove (Syndrome/Amenra) and Colin H Van Eeckhout (Amenra/CHVE). Although the previous four albums were proper splits (including bands like Hessian, Primitive Man and Nihill), this album is introduced as one 20-minute representation of brilliant minds coming together to create a composition rooted in both absence and presence. Thus ultimately calling themselves and their work, Absent In Body. Continue reading
Hypertension Records’ intriguing plan of releasing split 12” records with some of today’s most intense and serious artists began back in the spring with this little beauty which your humble scribe completely missed. After being sent to the naughty step, yours truly finally got around to listening to the damn thing the other day and (you probably know this already) is happy to report that it is gripping and compelling, often in equal measure.
On this stripped back but emotion-filled enterprise we get a dark and brooding Amenra, the clean vocal approach of ‘Wear My Crown’ underpinning, rather than lightening the sense of unease and disjointedness. There is definitely a sense of less is more here with the gaps between the notes having their own sense of impending doom. I know this is not technically possible but just take a listen. Likewise, ‘To Go On and Live Without’ is a subdued exercise in grace and elegance; heart-breaking, but in a gentle way.
By staggering contrast, the pummelling you get from VVounds is splenetic and full of bile and venom. You get the idea that VVounds are not an act to be messed about with: their heist like approach to song delivery (if song is the right word here) is without any sort of artifice or presumption; the energy is relentless and brutal; at their core is a sense of anger and injustice which leaps out of the speakers at you.
Both acts here are not for the faint-hearted, nor the casual listener. Both are intense albeit in aurally diverse ways; both though are very worthy of your time and undivided attention. My melancholy heart is with Amenra but that’s just me. Well worth investigating.