In 2009, AmenRa released the acoustic ep 'Afterlive', which showed a completely different side of the band. Five years later, they played a number of acoustic sets, reinterpreting their own songs in an intimate setting. The performances were recorded on tape, to be released by Consouling Sounds. On this album, you can also find collaborations with Belgian poet Sofie Verdoodt and two amazing cover versions.
One of those cover versions is the gloomy 'Parabol', originally a Tool song. It's a chilling version which reminds me a bit of Colin's (vocals) solo work in CHVE. However, the cover I was most looking forward to, is their rendition of 'Het Dorp' by Belgian singer/songwriter Zjef Vanuytsel who passed away last December. This cover is a true tribute to Vanuytsel where AmenRa perfectly captured the original atmosphere of the "kleinkunst" song. This is a stunning tearjerker.
The other tracks aren't any less interesting by the way. Even in an acoustic setting, AmenRa manage to create a dark, heavy and immersive atmosphere. 'Buiten Datum', another Dutch song (or poem), is one of my favorites here It reminds me a bit of some of Tiamat's best works or Anathema's emotional ballads. 'Wear My Crown' is another brilliant piece of music, another highlight on this album.
In all, this is a beautiful album, showing how talented the guys from AmenRa really are. Here and there I'm even reminded of Neil Young, certainly in the song 'Aorte'. I never thought a sludge metal band would remind me of Neil Young or Tom Petty or even Johnny Cash. But then again, this ain't no sludge album, this is a testament about how talented, innovative and creative Belgian artists really are. So check it out, even if you're not an AmenRa fan. This is top level musicianship...