Amenra live in November 2013
|Origin||Kortrijk, West Flanders, Belgium|
|Members||Colin H. van Eeckhout|
|Past members||Kristof Mondy|
Amenra is a Belgian band from Kortrijk. It was formed in 1999 by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove, who now perform alongside drummer Bjorn Lebon, guitarist Lennart Bossu and bassist Levy Seynaeve. Among a number of other works, they have released six studio albums in the Mass series, the latest of them through Neurot Recordings. The band's unique musical style, characterised by brooding atmospheres and spiritual intensity, is rooted in doom metal, hardcore punk and post-rock. Their live performances, accompanied by visual art, have been described as "entrancing communions". In 2005, Amenra formed Church of Ra, a collective of collaborating artists which now includes Oathbreaker and the Black Heart Rebellion.
Amenra was formed in 1999 in the West Flanders city of Kortrijk. The band was founded by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and lead guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove. The two had been in the hardcore punk band Spineless and wanted to create music with more "heart and soul".
The group released their debut studio album Mass I in 2003. Van Eeckhout suggested in 2017 that each Mass is created out of necessity to reflect on a certain experience or phase in the band members' lives and thus they never know which album will be their last. He also described 2005's Mass III as a "keystone moment of [Amenra's] existence" at which they "found direction". The band's next "turning point" came when they joined Neurot Records to release Mass V. The label was founded by Neurosis; a band that has been influential in Amenra's style and career.
Amenra's musical style has been described as post-metal, sludge, post-hardcore, doom and ethereal hardcore. It has also been noted to bear a resemblance to black metal, gothic folk and post-rock. Remfry Dedman of The Independent wrote that their "avant-garde post-metal" music "push[es] the boundaries of extreme music by being heavy in practically every conceivable way; sonically, emotionally and spiritually."
Themes and artistry
Though calling himself agnostic, Colin H. van Eeckhout acknowledges the presence of spirituality and religion in the band's work. Shortly before the release of Mass VI, he wrote for The Independent:
We have one story to tell and it is always the same. I always write about life’s pain. I always use personal experiences as a reference to relate as truthfully and as honestly possible, from the heart. I try to bend the darkness into the light. ... From the beginning, our intention with the Mass albums was to devise a platform for self-reflection, to set a base for introspection; that moment when you’re on your knees and you ask questions that don’t have answers.
Church of Ra
Around the release of Mass III in 2005, Amenra founded a collective of like-minded artists named Church of Ra. These are often friends who share Amenra's DIY ethic and mindset. Church of Ra collaborates with Amenra on art and performances. Some of the group's better known members are Oathbreaker and the Black Heart Rebellion, as well as side-projects of Amenra's band members. In a 2014 interview, van Eeckhout stated:
We started working together in different projects with Amenra and sideprojects Kingdom, Syndrome, etc. When Lennart Bossu (guitars) and Levy Seynaeve (bass) joined Amenra, Oathbreaker and Hessian got formed. We worked together with Tomas Lootens and Valentijn Goethals from Webecameaware for layouts artwork etc, they are also in The Black Heart Rebellion. Treha Sektori from Paris also works with us a lot. I started talking to him in 2009, and soon thereafter we formed Sembler Deah. New projects CHVE, Harlowe, Caan, Darak, Wiegedood are being formed. Through the years photographers like Stefaan Temmerman, Jeroen Mylle, Thomas Sweertvaegher worked with us as well, dancer choreographer Thomas Steyaert, visual artist/graphic designer Tine Guns and so much more.
- Colin H. van Eeckhout – vocals (1999–present)
- Mathieu J. Vandekerckhove – guitars (1999–present)
- Bjorn J. Lebon – drums (1999–present)
- Lennart Bossu – guitars
- Levy Seynaeve – bass
- Kristof J. Mondy – bass (1999–?)
- Maarten P. Kinet – bass
- Vincent F. Tetaert – guitars
- Prayers 9+10 12" (2004)
- Afterlife 10" + CD (2009)
- Vuur / Amenra 7" (2004)
- Vuur / Amenra / Gameness / Gantz CD (2004)
- Amenra / Hitch 7" (2007)
- Amenra / Hive Destruction 10" (2011)
- Amenra / The Black Heart Rebellion 12" (2011)
- Amenra / Oathbreaker 7" (2011)
- Amenra / Hessian 7" (2012)
- Amenra / Madensuyu 10" (2014)
- Amenra / VVOVNDS 12" (2014)
- Amenra / Eleanora 10" (2014)
- Amenra / Treha Sektori 10" (2014)
- Amenra / Sofie Verdoodt 7" (2015)
- Live (2012)
- Live II (2014)
- Alive (2016)
- Mass III (Hypertension Records pre-order special) (2005)
- Church of Ra (2009)
- 23.10 (2009)
- 01.06 (Fortarock 2013) (2013)
- 22.12 (Ancienne Belgique 2012) (2013)
- Church of Ra (2008)
Singles and music videos
- "Nowena" (2012)
- "Boden" (2012)
- "A Mon Âme" (2014)
- "Charon" (2016)
- "Children of the Eye" (2017)
- "A Solitary Reign" (2017)
- Dedman, Remfry (16 October 2017). "AMENRA – MASS VI: Album Stream". The Independent. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Peeters, Tom (12 December 2012). "Etherische postmetal van Amenra klinkt als pletwals". Agenda Magazine (in Dutch). Brussel Deze Week. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Devriendt, Christophe (21 December 2012). ""Wij zijn één en al boodschap": Amenra presenteert nieuwste cd" (in Dutch). DeWereldMorgen.be. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Yardley, Miranda (14 June 2012). "Studio Report: Amenra". Terrorizer Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Yardley, Miranda (12 July 2011). "Amenra Sign With Neurpt". Terrorizer Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Steenhaut, Dirk (23 December 2012). "Amenra @ ABBox: luid maar zuiver". Knack Focus Magazine (in Dutch). Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- "Wat schaft de Pod? – De favoriete platen van Amenra". HUMO (in Dutch). 20 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- van den Driesche, Sander. "Interview: Amenra". Echoes and Dust. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Taylor, Jack (29 May 2015). "BELGIAN POST METAL TITANS AMENRA WRITING NEW ALBUM, TO TOUR UK BRIEFLY IN NOVEMBER". Zero Tolerance. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "watch new Amenra video featuring Neurosis' Scott Kelly". BrooklynVegan. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- McCasker, Toby (9 August 2013). "9 bands playing post-hardcore like it should be". Junkee. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Interview Colin H. Van Eeckhout". Snoozecontrol. 19 March 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "Amenra: A Mon Âme". Nowness. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "AMENRA/MADENSUYU split picture disc 10" on Consouling Sounds". Tumblr. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "Church Of Ra". Doornroosje. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
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