The Amenta - Flesh is Heir
Listenable Records
Industrial Death Metal
11 songs (45:35)
Release year: 2013
The Amenta, Listenable Records
Reviewed by Goat

Continuing along much the same dark, brutally technical mindset shown on their Chokehold EP from last year, Australia’s The Amenta are at last settling into a formula on their third full-length. This is a muscular, underground-influenced variety of industrial metal, focused on riffs and blastbeats, moving away from the more dark ambient approach of 2008’s N0N. Here the metal is the backbone, the electronic elements subtly draped over the top in one of the better examples of songwriting that you’ll see from the genre. The band doesn’t just create soundscapes, they write extreme metal songs, and do so well. There’s a clear variety in the songs, from bonecrushing mechanical power to creepy atmospheric meanders, with just two interludes that are perfectly judged. What’s more, it has staying power, the songs making more sense with repeated listens and the album growing and becoming more defined as a whole.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have immediate impact, and the opening title track builds up into a stormer, varied in tempo yet single-minded in assault. Fear Factory’s recent outings have nothing on this for sheer viciousness, the jackhammer riffs and blasts heavy with just enough changes to avoid becoming repetitive. Ego Ergo Sum is groovier and catchier in moments, the industrial elements very well implemented and coming into their own, and the following Teeth is even heavier and faster with more of an atmospheric punch to it. You can detect something of a tech-death feel to The Amenta at moments like this, when they’re constructing a precise storm of sounds with the seeming goal of overwhelming the listener. It’s almost black metal at moments, matching the genre’s speed and viciousness but too reliant on death metal riffing as the base of the music to truly cross over.

Flesh is Heir’s strengths truly come when you’re familiar with the album, and can appreciate the various atmospheric nuances of, say, Obliterate’s Prayer. Describing each track’s little twists seems wrong here, it’s the kind of album that you listen to, find enjoyable enough, but then keep coming back to as it grows. The atmospheric filth on show in, say, Sewer, is appropriately dark, but it takes awhile for the sheer grimness of it to hit. There are no Jesu-esque rays of light and hope to be found – The Amenta are all about the descent into despair, leaving the ascent to hope and redemption for other bands, and although it’s not as relentlessly gloomy as funeral doom, this is still some of the darkest industrial metal around. The Argument even has moments of Blut Aus Nord-esque dissonance, sounding like that band dragged through Dødheimsgard-esque filth and returned to (modern) black metal’s most hateful realms.

The surprises keep coming, Cell’s slower, crushing doom-touched echoes reminiscent of the sadly departed Red Harvest. Fittingly, the following Disintegrate is foaming-at-the-mouth furious, all blastbeats and rabid vocal spewings at first before softening slightly and leading into ambient interlude A Palimpsest. And finale Tabula Rasa rounds the album off perfectly, alternatively restrained and manic, showing off both sides of the band well and ending suddenly, leaving you wanting more. Few metal bands make a real impact with three albums, but The Amenta have gone from oddballs in facepaint to one of industrial metal’s most important bands, and Flesh is Heir is an excellent album.

Killing Songs :
Flesh is Heir, Ego Ergo Sum, Teeth, Obliterate’s Prayer, The Argument, Cell
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by The Amenta that we have reviewed:
The Amenta - Revelator reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
The Amenta - Chokehold (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
The Amenta - n0n reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
The Amenta - Occasus reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
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