Amenra, Syndrome // An Club, Athens, Greece // 22.9.2012

I love such gigs that give people the opportunity to discover and witness bands that have already showed their aesthetic abroad but not in Greece, at least not that much as they deserve. Adding the fact that even in the capital Athens, people have started being way more strange in attending gigs, it was a very pleasant surprise not only that we finally saw Amenra (at least the ones of us that didn’t make it in 2009 on their first visit in Greece), but also the fact that many people embraced this performance with their presence. I thought we’d be about 100-150 people the most but we were more than double the size of the amount first assumpted. The same day Grand Magus were playing, so there was no chance of losing crowd, as they are two totally different bands, though I like them both. What I’m most certain about, is that the mighty Grand Magus would

(and will) never give such a passionate performance as Amenra did. There are many ways to state what you represent, but even fewer can be transmitted the Amenra way.

Syndrome is the project of Amenra’s guitar player Mathieu Vandekerckhove (what a surname!) and for a little more than 25 minutes, we had the chance to relax under an ambient/drone soundscape created with the help of electronic most and less with his guitar. Almost total absence of vocals except a part or two, and with the psychedelic aura filling the club, I had the chance to discuss with a friend the need and essence of such acts. We both ended up agreeing that music is art in all its forms, and as long as it doesn’t become annoying, there’s quite no problem with it. On the other hand, maybe most of the masses are not able or willing to comprehend the meaning of this repeated composition. For example, there is the addition of the guy that played before OM two years ago, which was something really special. Mathieu did a good job, but I and many more would prefer something heavier, maybe close to Amenra’s sound (as long as something like this is possible of course).

Amenra finally ended up not giving a performance but more declaring a statement. Stolen from Siddhartha Gautama’s interpretation (mostly known as Buddha), life is pain and undergoing through pain, you discover your self. Amenra are five Buddhas that taught the meaning of pain, loss, inner struggle and love/hate group, all combined, all given up in 101% of excessive expressionism. ”The Pain It Is Shapeless. We Are Your Shapeless Pain.” started the show. Pure addition, as this pain takes the shape of these five individuals and is delivered to more than 300 people which really don’t give a fuck, by simply witnessing it, living with it, banging with it, closing their eyes so that not a single sound is lost, they stick it to their heads, to their whole bodies and they follow the band to each riff from Vandekerckhove and Lennart Bossu, each beating of the great drummer Bjorn J. Lebon, each pulse from the bass of new bassist Levy Seynaeve and each schizophrenic moan by Colin H. Van Eeckhout.

The vocalist of the band, screaming mainly with his back to the crowd, not from disrespect but from inner fight with himself mostly, tries to drown the lyrical and musical pain for himself only, abandoned in the centre of the stage on his mind, surrounded by his four fellows on the other hand. Yet again, he seems like he’s alone in this world, crying out his thoughts loud as fuck, in order to be heard even to the most suspicious ones. It takes only 55 minutes for the fans to close their mouths and raising their jaws from the floor, but they seem more than enough. No greetings, no goodbyes, no good or bad words from the band to the crowd, performance, end of it, end of story. None wants more, none has even tried to analyse what has already happened, all is clear and in the deepest depth of our minds. I had seen the ”Church Of Ra” dvd but this was way more convincing. The tv screen can NEVER prepare for what you are about to see live.

”Silver Needle/Golden Nail” is more like salvation to all of us, it ends a ritual where we all dive in a bottomless swamp and sinking ourselves in the most unknown possible places we could explore, we finally come back alive, no scratches on the outside but with many experiences tattoed inside us. Unforgettable and invaluable lessons to where the human expression can be lead, once having the right motive to do so. ”Mass V” is going to be out in the end of the next month, four and a half years after ”Mass IIII” and three years after the ”Afterlife” EP. If ”Deadborn And Buried” which was the new track we heard is a representative, then once again we’ll burn our minds. The following album is going to have three more tracks except the aforementioned and I’m really curious to see what the Belgians are going to unleash in about 50 days from now. If a band from a balanced and way more civilised country (compared to Greece) like Belgium plays that kind of music, imagine the amount of shit our world is floating in. Eventually, a flower will grow out of it, bringing hope through pain and gain through loss. Many people have already become more experience through this, myself concerned, this is most definite.

 Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Eleni Stravridi.