Amebix – Sonic Mass
After more then twenty years away Crust Punk pioneers Amebix have returned to reclaim their throne with a full length Record entitled Sonic Mass. Bolstered with new drummer Roy Mayorga, of Nausea and Stone Sour fame, the original duo of Rob “The Baron” Miller on bass and Stig on guitar have lost none of their vitality.
Being Amebix it is easy to know what to expect and that is the unexpected. This album shows a development of the Amebix sound and show cases a much larger set of influences and styles that were not present in the earlier recordings including folk, industrial and Middle Eastern elements along side the usual punk and metal styles. However diverse these styles seem to be they still maintain the traditional Amebix sound and are blended together to create a menacing prowling sound like the encroaching nuclear future the band sing about.
Unlike their debut full length Arise with it’s dark, slow pounding feel or the more metal Monolith album Sonic Mass has a more atmospheric feel to it with its frequent acoustic moments and blend of electronic sounds along side the usual crawling low E riffs.
The unexpected opening acoustic track helps to set the ominous feel of the album and builds to the perfect climax of second instrumental track which goes back to familiar Amebix territory of low chugging chords and thundering drums.
Few other albums evoke as strong images as Sonic Mass does, especially on tracks like the first part of the title track which creates the image of an iron age village in the depths of winter or the closing track (which is one of the greatest metal tracks ever written. Period.) which creates visions of post apocalyptic battle grounds.
Lyrically the album is a master piece with catchy hooks, beautiful imagery and stirring shout-along battle cries. It is difficult to listen to the album and not bellow out; ISEETHE CONGREGATION….MASS. (unfortunately for the neighbours I may have done so a few too many times this past week)
Performance wise it is hard to find another example of the band playing their instruments any better. The new guy showing that he can keep up with the might of the original members by providing thundering tom fills or light touches of cymbal perfectly when needed. The Baron’s vocals, remaining untouched by time, sound better then ever and he is able to show his true talent by switching between quietly sung emotional passages to fundamentalist preacher esc shouted diatribes which conjure up huge emotional feelings that whip the listener into a frenzy and are difficult not to join in with.
Just like their riffs; Amebix’s Sonic Mass has menacingly crept up from behind and taken the competition by storm to become a very strong contender for my album of the year.