Imagine to be a person in your early 20’s, digging new music and especially sludge. Whatever band you have met in your life, except NEUROSIS, no matter how good or bad that band is, it creates music via its own box of thoughts. However, if you get in touch with AMENRA, you will notice that the band is making music that somehow is turning into a spiritual matter, it is becoming a religion.
During the first day of Smoke The Fuzz Fest, the Athenian fans will have the chance to watch live AMENRA, along with OATHBREAKER. Beginning with the headliners, AMENRA are one of the oldest bands in the sludge scene that still can be described as pioneers in the specific genre. AMENRA originate from Belgium and since the beginning of their career, they have released five full-length records and numerous of splits/EPs. Each of their records is titled ‘Mass’, ‘Mass’ and the number of the specific record, for example ‘Mass III’. The band quickly became known for its unique vocals. Colin Van Eeckhout is one of the most extreme vocalists in metal, with his high-pitched hardcore voice to totally take over the ambient riffs that accompany the songs.
Within their own songs and records, AMENRA created something that only NEUROSIS have achieved; to create a spiritual catharsis through music. With lyrics that philosophize about the inner world, the band is creating a livid projection of the mind’s weakness. It’s painful to hear those songs, but through pain we can reach salvation. AMENRA is a ritual, delivering a religious experience via non-religious, humanitarian songs. Their first record labeled the tracks as ‘prayers’ as well as their second. This introduces a special bond between the record and the listener, a bond that can only be described by the endless search of man for a possible answer to his inner fears.
Progressing slowly, the band’s music from ‘Mass’ to ‘Mass IV’ became more ambient and multi-dimensional. AMENRA’s songs are not radio-friendly in order to fit into playlists and be divided to singles. As a result, the band’s constant touring and promoting of their records brought together another project, ‘Church of Ra’. ‘Church of Ra’ is a collective of musicians and projects by the members of the band or by other musicians, with artistic ideology equal to AMENRA’s. The collective’s goal is to spread into other music groups and various discographies, resulting in establishing Amenra as one of the most important of the sludge’s music scene, even if they avoid any type of labeling.
Proud and important member of ‘Church of Ra’ collective is OATHBREAKER, the band who joins AMENRA in this tour and supported many of their shows in the past years. They will support their show in Athens too. OATHBREAKER include AMENRA’s guitarist Lennart Bossu and have, so far, recorded three full-length records. The band’s style varies from post-hardcore to heavier and more of a post-metal one. With a female vocalist and charismatic musicians, the band created sophisticated records.
Sometimes aggressive, other ambient, OATHBREAKER brought themselves into the frontline of post-metal with ‘Rheia’ and ‘Eros/Anteros’. The tracks, just like poetic works, offer a lyrical and auditory fascination, challenging imagination and mind’s spiritual state. Just like AMENRA, OATHBRAKER ’s music is smart, not a radio-friendly ‘one-night stand’.
‘Rheia’ was the record that also introduced the clean vocals into OATHBRAKER ’s music. Caro Tanghe showed her true potential, expanding the band’s capabilities. That’s the main reason why ‘Rheia’ was memorized as one of the greatest records for metal of the previous year. To simply create such multidimensional and spiritual records is an act of greatness, showing off to many close-minded bands out there that metal, and music generally, does not exists to be a matter of merriment, it exists as an intellectual uprising.
Day one of Smoke The Fuzz Fest is, totally, a unique one. With AMENRA, the teachers themselves and OATHBRAKER, one of the most sophisticated bands out there, it’s a perfect chance for fans to enjoy a sludgy night, enjoy favorite songs of ‘Rheia’ on stage and maybe listen to some new material from AMENRA, who are preparing their new ‘Mass’ record this year.