The Amenta - _Occasus_
by: Jackie Smit (
There's a sense of grand discovery that comes along with uncovering a band like The Amenta: a sort of exhilaration similar to that felt during those moments where you first stumbled across _Reign in Blood_ or _Altars of Madness_. It's one of those bands that after only a few listens, causes you to start judging any other entries to the genre from a decidedly more critical stance, purely because you know what can be achieved.While it is a largely redundant excercise to attempt a thoroughly accurate description for this Australian quintet, connections to the cold-blooded violence of Nile and Cryptopsy do apply. But, in much the same way, The Amenta also dabble in the surreal, pitch-black ambience that marked albums like _In the Nightside Eclipse_ and _Psalm 69_. And indeed, it is this remarkable penchant for creating unique and involving atmospheres that provides The Amenta's debut with its unearthly appeal._Occasus_ is much more than merely the sum of its influences, however. "Zero" presents the listener with strains of digitized hatred that shows of near impossible technicality. "Senium" is a nightmare soundscape that sounds as though it was expressly commissioned for David Fincher's "Se7en". The open, crisp production makes the build-up and ultimate aural explosion of "Nihil" sound like the trumpet call of the apocalypse.But these are only a few examples of what _Occasus_ offers its listeners. It is quite unlike anything that you have ever heard. With a background of over fifteen years in extreme music, I can honestly say that in my humble opinion, this is one of the most revolutionary releases -- not to mention astounding maiden efforts -- to be unleashed since _Scream Bloody Gore_. It transcends the boundaries of conventional extremity, and it is the preemptive kick in the teeth that death metal was inevitably going to need at some point. Without a single, solitary shadow of a doubt, this is my album of 2004.
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