The Amenta: Chokehold

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The Amenta: Chokehold
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The Amenta: Chokehold
Industrial Death Metal
Listenable Records
May 15th, 2012
Release length: 26:57
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Originally formed under the name Crucible of Agony, and issuing two demos, the Australian Industrial Death group Metal The Amenta officially came to be in 2002. Since then, they haven’t done that much, as well as aren’t that widely known a Metal act despite having previous efforts on their current known and respectable label, Listenable Records. They dropped their first release in 2002 with the Mictlan EP, which was followed with their 2004 full-length offering Occasus. Since then they issued another album in 2008 titled n0n, and another EP in 2011 named VO1D. Roughly a year later, they return with a brand new five song EP titled Chokehold. But, given the rather positive remarks of their previous ventures, will this be another strong recording for the fans, or is this just a typical rushed small release to keep the band’s name afloat in the eyes of their loyal fanbase?

Well, the structuring of this effort is the definition of an EP. You have one original song, a cover, a remix, and two live tracks. Of course, this all leads to varying audio qualities, but overall it’s clearly a digital production job, but still with a rougher and bass-heavy sound. The Industrial aspects are strong and merge well with the drumming that is rather tight in the snares with a thick thud on the bass kick, while the cymbals are rather loud and stand out well. The guitars have a very low tuning that could arguably replace the bass guitar, which is podded up very loud and still has crushingly deep tone to it. The vocals have some layering and alteration effects, but given the two new studio quality songs, which are the loudest of the five, it works out well.

“Chokehold” is a slow paced bludgeoning assault that isn’t anything too much to look at at first, but it is just punishing from the moment it starts. The song is simply heavy as hell with a great beat captured well with the cymbals and added Industrial effects playing around it. The growling vocals suit the dismal atmosphere quite well, turning this almost into an anthem to just running out and beating someone to an inch of their life, using this as an outlet for all pent up frustrations as the tension continues to build with a richer chorus that is meant to have the listener go crazy, almost what you would expect two rival forces to use as the ignition point of their confrontation. This is followed up with the similarly structured Godflesh offering “Christ Bait Rising.” There’s a stronger drum presence here, and much of the tension from a slow build doesn’t exist outside of the bridges, but overall it ends up another song with a crawling pace and richly atmospheric, as well as groovey guitar chords that are catchy, and pretty damned brutal.

“VO1D (Remix)” isn’t too bad of an alternate version, focusing largely on the Industrial side of the band than the Death Metal. The vocals have digital alterations to them that add some repeating as if glitching out, the drums are largely replaced with the electronic sounds common to a The Amenta‘s sound, and the guitars are not quite as heavy as they could be, and often non-existant to the obvious bass presence that works in favor of the approach this remix goes for. The audio quality is a little lower in volume compared to “Chokehold” and “Christ Bait Rising,” as well as somewhat more crisp, losing the darker and heavier atmosphere the previous two songs brought to light. Things get even lower in volume for the two live tracks that favor more of a raw and muffled approach in some aspects. The vocals are pretty crisp, and the drumming does come through quite well, though the deeper guitars and bass feel a bit restrained. This doesn’t hold the songs back though, as “Sekem” is still a strong, bludgeonig offering with some really heavy mid-paced material in the chorus, and faster grinding drums and chords for the main verses, all of which set up an ominous tone. Much of this can also be said for the live rendition of “Vermin,” except that this is a highly more chaotic in structure offering compared to the rest of the material, almost a bit nightmarish with a very suiting breakdown at the end that works flows and sounds better than the one towards the climax of “Sekem.”

All in all, it’s a nice EP that their listeners will definitely enjoy. The live songs are a decent addition, and the remix of “VO1D” will easily cater to the group’s more Industrial-going fanbase. But, if they don’t intrigue you, then atleast purchasing “Chokehold” and “Christ Bait Rising” from an MP3 retailer becomes a mandate, especially if you have enjoyed their previous works. For many expecting a largely Death Metal sound, this recording will throw you off the first time through, but once you fully grasp the atmosphere the band is giving you, then you can truly appreciate the material for what it is. Chokehold is a solid EP from The Amenta, and if you haven’t heard this band before, then now is the perfect jumping on point to get a crash course in what this Australian group has to offer you. If you have, then there’s no reason not to own this, especially if you find it for a respectable price.

01. Chokehold – 4:44
02. Christ Bait Rising (Godflesh cover) – 7:08
03. VO1D (Remix) – 4:49
04. Sekem (Live) – 4:01
05. Vermin (Live) – 3:48
Overall Score: 8/10
The Amenta: Band
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Physical review copy of this release provided by Listenable Records via Clawhammer PR.