Is that a bad thing?
I am a big fan of Colin's solo work. CHVE is one of the most impressive one-man acts I've ever experienced live. Mathieu Vandekerckhove's Syndrome project is brilliant as well. We Belgians drone, ritual and ambient like no one, take that from me. I love Kingdom and many other outbursts from the Church Of Ra, but I very rarely play my Amenra records. I do have them. I bought them at a show a few years ago, out of respect and support and because they simply pummel the competition at live events.
Things change. People too.
My respect for this band only grew when I heard their breathtaking cover version of 'Het Dorp' from Zjef Vanuytsel. Perhaps this was the Colin I wanted to hear: modest, emotional and introvert. I guess the typical post hardcore screams are not to my liking, and apparently the same goes for grunts and blackened screams these days. Still, I wanted to witness the yin to the yang, the light to darkness, the sheer power that Amenra is known for. I wasn't even going to write a review. For Amenra, reviews are not a necessity. This album will sell anyway, regardless of what I write about it. I just wanted to listen.
So I opened the stream and ''Children Of The Eye' started, calm at first but quickly turning into the epic post metal Amenra is known for. My first reaction was nothing out of the ordinary, not for Amenra. I knew immediately that the hordes of fans would absolutely adore this album. This song alone has anything they like and it all comes with such intensity that ignoring it is utterly impossible. Plus, this is a spiritual purification, the entire album is. 'Plus Pres De Toi (Closer To You)' harshly follows the chosen path and gradually I'm being sucked in.
After a while, more intimate passages approach. Halfway through the song, I'm almost crying along with Colin's sad and subdued voice, only to burst out in sheer despair and anger shortly after. Not because I don't like it, no, on the very contrary. These emotions are so perfectly represented in the music that you cannot not feel them. By now, I have to admit that this is Amenra at their very best, a whirlpool of emotions translated with perfect and talented musicianship.
I think 'Spijt' and 'A Solitary Reign' are my absolute favorites on this album. In my humble opinion, the vocals in the latter are the best I have ever heard from Amenra. Then, obviously, there is the always slow but immersive music that continuously manages to maintain its stranglehold on the listener. Oh well, I might just face it, I will soon be one of those people at a concert in Belgium, wearing an Amenra t-shirt.