It’s hard to know where to start when addressing a band like The Amenta; few people possess the sort of polymath intelligence required to unscramble the band’s tongue-tied and twisted lyrical approach for a start, so breaking down the meaning behind such titanic pieces of lyrical mischief like Silent Twin seems pointless in the extreme; similarly most ‘kids on the street’ don’t harbour the smarts to sit down and appreciate the sheer vision and ambition required to put together something like the epic Twined Towers, much less bother understanding the motivation behind it, so a breakdown on song construction seems genuinely redundant too. So, where do we start?
Luckily, the band attack the listener at such a visceral level that one can’t fail to be moved by the lurching grandeur of Parasight Lost, even if one isn’t quite sure why. At this level of experiential listening, no explanation is really required. This really is music you ‘feel’ as well as hear, absorbing as much of it’s impact through the chest as through the head. Repeated immersions in the album may not lead to understanding, but the listener will come to an uncomfortable peace with the record, accepting it’s many foibles in toto as evidence of the work of artisans operating at a higher level.
For all that, this is at once the Amenta’s most nuanced but accessible work yet; and whilst the band enjoy that exalted existence that many strive for yet hardly any manage to attain – almost complete originality – there are moments of familiarity here that may enable confused non-combatants to gain a foothold within it’s churning sonic landscapes. Vocalist Cain Cressall is key to this, varying his point of attack skilfully, often within the same piece of music, adding new found accessibility to the already-impressive arsenal of tortured howling.
Consequently fleeting shards of melody counterpoint the unforgiving battery of David Haley‘s drumms, or cut through the discord created by Timothy Pope‘s grim-fingered manipulation of electronica. At times the seasoned listener will catch a glimpse of Killing Joke or fellow UK noise terrorists Head of David, both as welcome as they are surprising, but never will the ear focus on these moments as the reason to listen to the music, accepting that these merely add to the blackened carnival of excess being conflated from a dozen other (often non-complimentary) angles at the same time. Revelator is an exhausting listen and yet… at it’s end you’ll find yourself getting ready, almost in spite of yourself, to go through the wringer again.
By no means is this an album that’s going to appeal to everyone, but if you have a strong enough constitution to wade through what many might consider ‘unlistenable’, then there are a wealth of sonic jewels awaiting your amazement and appreciation – trust me, this album really is worth the discomfort…
Revelator releases today (February 18th).