Contrasts have always been deep, and at the very heart of AMENRA's music, ever since they started uttering their Prayers and holding their Masses, almost eighteen years ago. Tormented darkness has always coexisted alongside luminous beauty, thunderous impacts instantly followed by frail, delicate subtleties. Songs that seem to engulf everyone in the world at once suddenly feel like they are being whispered to you inside the isolation of your solitary womb.
The time that we have waited for a new Mass, this Mass VI that is now finally materialized and ready to consume and be consumed, seems itself to also be a double-edged sword - on one hand, and although Mass V's closer "Nowena | 9.10," seems as final as anything we've ever heard, like something that should be playing when the world itself comes to an end, we are parched all the same for new AMENRA songs to enter our life and remain there as the others from the past have done, and continue to do during the band's impassioned live performances. On the other hand, the wounds inflicted by Mass V still have not turned to scars, they still itch and they have been made wider by the ways the band has found to interpret their material in different ways in the last few years, from acoustic performances and recordings to several collaborations with like-minded artists, there hasn't been any kind of absence or withdrawal. In any case, ready or not, Mass VI is here, and more than any other album in AMENRA's past, it highlights those contrasts in a deeply affecting way.
Mass VI will arrive on Friday, October 20th through Neurot Recordings.
As always with AMENRA, this art has come directly from the souls of the musicians involved, they can establish connections with their listeners more profound than almost any other band because they are direct heart to heart connections. Thus, this pain, this sorrow, and these fleeting moments of joy, they come from those hearts. They are all too real.
"It took us a couple of years as always to find the right mindset to write a new album. Works of music whose creation was fueled by pure necessity," AMENRA's Colin van Eeckhout explains. "We needed to write, at this point. Finding inspiration in depression, sorrow and despair. Levy found himself in a dark place for some time, where he shut himself off from everyone to write new music. It was the first Mass album he helped writing, and his being is felt throughout the entire album. Lebon, our drummer, celebrated the birth of his newborn son. We were all saddened by Mathieu's father's cancer and are mourning the loss of Lebon's beloved mother. And for me, personally, my firstborn son had a tumor removed from inside his head. It seriously shook my ground. Fate strikes and strokes. Where there is Love there is Pain." No love without pain. No life without death. No light without darkness. That is the conflict at the heart of Mass VI, at the heart of each one of us, at the heart of what it means to be human, to live and to love and to lose, and few other pieces of music will wrench that ambivalence out of us and present it in such an acutely overwhelming fashion.
It's difficult to think of a better person to capture this sonic enormity than Billy Anderson. The legendary American producer was already the chosen one for Mass V, and between Neurosis' Through Silver In Blood, Sleep's Dopesmoker, Eyehategod's Dopesick, Cathedral's Endtyme or Brutal Truth's Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom, among many, many others, he's been a decisive element in the building of many a true classic. Mass VI was recorded in the Belgian Ardennes, a region of thick forests in the southeast end of the country, where the band was snowed in for a week. Below you'll find some imagery of the inner artwork of the record created by the wonderful Stephan Vanfleteren.
Mass VI Track Listing:
1. Children Of The Eye
3. Plus Près De Toi (Closer To You)
5. A Solitary Reign
AMENRA is proud to announce a release show on October 31st in Ancienne Belgique, Brussels. The band will outshine themselves with their visual aesthetics and all other aspects of the live performance. Their friends in All Shadows And Deliverance will be opening, as well as Monnik, and there will be an exhibition of photographs by Maarten Kinet (bass AMENRA afterlife), and displays of other AMENRA related artwork. The band will be selling an exclusive European version of the record at their release show. Tickets for the show will go on sale on July 10th at this link and see the tour trailer HERE.
AMENRA will make their North American return this month, as they join Converge supporting labelmates Neurosis, the tour running from July 27th through August 7th.
AMENRA Tour Dates:
7/27/2017 Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL w/ Neurosis [tickets]
7/28/2017 Thalia Hall - Chicago, IL w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
7/29/2017 St Andrews - Detroit, MI w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
7/30/2017 Rex Theatre - Pittsburgh, PA w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/01/2017 Metropolis - Montreal, QC w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/02/2017 Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/03/2017 College St. Music Hall - New Haven, CT w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/04/2017 Warsaw - Brooklyn, NY w/ Neurosis, Converge [SOLD OUT]
8/05/2017 Warsaw - Brooklyn, NY w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/06/2017 Royale - Boston, MA w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
8/07/2017 Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA w/ Neurosis, Converge [tickets]
10/31/2017 Ancienne Belgique - Brussels, BE * release show w/ All Shadows And Deliverance, Monnik
Stand by for the official cover art along with further details and preorders for Mass VI to be released soon.