How Amenra are pushing the boundaries of metal's outer limits
One of the most immense and transformative entities to have erupted from the underground, Amenra are journeying to the physical and spiritual outer limits
The ground seems to be shaking. There are hundreds of people standing in the dark, their heads moving in unison, the room almost bursting under the pressure of energy released through monolithic, repetitive riffs. Amenra are onstage, the members all lost in shadows and sound. In the middle is Colin H Van Eeckhout, screaming, blood running from his pierced chest, hooked stones hitting hard against his body. It’s one of those moments when music becomes something bigger, when you can almost feel the cosmic axis shift around you.
Just a few hours before, the scene looked much different, though: dead silence backstage, every member of the band slowly vanishing into his own bubble. The singer sits in a dark room and listens to tonight’s songs on his computer, trying hard to get away from the stress, the buzz and the expectations surrounding this evening.
The performance at Brussels’ famous Ancienne Belgique venue is a special one for Amenra, not only being one of the biggest and most elaborate shows they have ever played but first and foremost the release show of their latest and long- awaited album, Mass VI, which once again sees the band dissect their wounds, delving into darkness only to find some light.
“Release shows are always weird. It’s a different energy than usually, there’s shitloads of expectations,” Colin recalls two days afterwards while sitting in a café in Ghent. “How do I look back? Relieved.”
Diving into the cosmos of Amenra, you will rarely hear the words “joy” or “fun”. Because that’s not what it is about. Different from many other bands, the driving force behind the work of the Belgians is not fun but the primal need to manifest and overcome certain things in their lives. For that to happen, the band are constantly analysing and examining their actions, always looking for the things that still could be a little better, relentlessly thriving to paint the perfect picture of their vision.
“We do not do this for enjoyment or for fun. I already made peace with that a long time ago,” Colin confirms. “A lot of people say before shows that you just have to try to enjoy the moment. And that’s true because it’s a grand moment, but it’s so hard. We haven’t figured out how to do that yet. So we never look back with happy thoughts. But there is a sense of pride and accomplishment.”