Album of the Day: Amebix – Sonic Mass

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Label: Amebix Records

When Amebix rose after almost twenty years of inactivity, it was a cause for celebration. Here were one of the most important bands in underground punk and metal – pretty much the first crust band – reforming and releasing new music. Of course, new music from classic bands can be a cause for concern, as no one wants to see a legacy sullied in the way that, say, What The… did for Black Flag. So when Sonic Mass arrived, it was a huge surprise. Here was a classic band, releasing a reformation album that not stood up to the best of their back catalogue, but also showed the band building upon what they had done before.

Whilst the classic Amebix sound was built largely upon hostility and a raw, driving need, Sonic Mass shows a more considered approach, adding Killing Joke post-punk heft and darkness to Amebix’s classic sound. Opener ‘Days’ is the kind of song that it’s impossible to imagine 80’s Amebix attempting, and the two parts of the title track are a masterclass in building and then releasing atmosphere and tension. It’s a very different version of Amebix to the one that left us in the 80’s, but one that is every bit as powerful. It’s just a shame that the band split once more in 2012, though bassist/vocalist The Baron then went on to form Tau Cross, who aren’t half bad themselves.

Sonic Mass can be streamed on Spotify.

 

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