THE AMENTA from Australia caught me by surprise. I hadn’t heard about ‘em until I got the promo from Listenable. From the first listen to this very day I feel there’s something more to THE AMENTA than just extreme Metal. THE AMENTA was brought to our world to dictate and you shall follow. From THE AMENTA – Chlordane
Before anything else, I think a suitable introduction to THE AMENTA would be to tell us a little about the limited “Mictlan” MCD, which was somewhat released in 2002? I assumed it led you to the deal with the high quality label Listenable Records?
““Mictlan” was a three track MCD that also contained a multimedia section with a bio, lyrics, images and an extra track. We sent it out to many ‘zines for review and got excellent responses. After a recommendation from Chronicles of Chaos ‘zine, we sent Listenable a promo pack and they signed us in 2003.”
The music on your debut album is what you consider extreme Metal. I can’t disagree with such a description, because “Occasus” is really extreme. What is it that makes you deliver such insanely brutal music? If I’m not mistaken, we’re speaking about a concept here, and if I should make a suggestion it wouldn’t work with nice Gothic Metal for your message?
“There is a concept and you’re right, it wouldn’t fit with nice, safe music. Conceptually we deal with the stagnation of mankind due to the thought control of dogmatic religions and organized philosophies. I think that our music reflects our frustration with the small-minded, easily led society of today. The great thing about playing extreme Metal is that there are no rules, or shouldn’t be, so anything is possible. Our music is extreme because we are pushing the boundaries of music. Anything less would be failure.”
The incredibly ‘Mictlan’ track is really great. When I listen to it I start to think that you’re able to make it extreme all the way even though you have the industrial section after 2.30 minutes. The first few times I listened to this I though it was more of a disturbance than anything else, but now that I am accustomed to it, I regard it as a small possibility of breathing during all the extremity. What’s your purpose breaking the track in two, if you see what I mean?
“The purpose is indeed to allow breathing space. One of the most effective songwriting tactics is dynamics and, unfortunately, many extreme music bands forget this. The lull in the midst of ‘Mictlan’s’ brutality makes the part that comes before seem more extreme while it allows the second half of the song to sound more epic. We learnt long ago that extreme music was only extreme in comparison to what surrounds it.”
After the mention section that lasts for ca. 30 seconds the song changes into a mid-paced brutality before it speeds up towards the end of the immense track. And if we look at the track as a whole, it’s very varied. Is it important to you to vary your tracks, because ‘Mictlan’ is not the only track that changes quite a lot? This also makes me wonder about the song-writing process, and how you build the tracks until you feel you have a worthy result?
“I think that is very important to vary tracks. I can’t understand why a band would seek to create a bland, monotonous song that doesn’t take the listener anywhere. It all comes down to dynamics again. Think of it like a classical song, there may be repeated themes and sections but the way of addressing them has to change, either in the form of volume or instrumentation. When we sit down to right a song we have something we want to express and a vague idea of how we will express it. Then it is just a matter of working our way around until we have the end song that we imagined.”
To me, it seems like you’re more inspired by bands such as Behemoth, Morbid Angel and Rebaelliun than your fellow Australians. In addition I think your inclusion of the darkness these industrial sequences is great. I sense a certain dose of Brighter Death Now and maybe some Puissance in there. Why this urge to make extreme Metal that’s not only extreme in the sense of sheer brutality, but also extreme by the inclusion of industrial darkness?
“We listen to many of the bands you have mentioned as well as others from the Death, Black and extreme Industrial spectrum, however our aim is to not be directly influenced by these bands. A lot of our music comes from experimentation. When we recorded the “Mictlan” MCD, we were able to experiment with different synths and samplers. After that recording session we continued to experiment and it just became more extreme naturally. I also think that a band needs to have more to offer than just brutality, it can get quite boring to just write music that is fast or technical. THE AMENTA has, and will always have, more than two dimensions.”
Your inclusion of keyboard and the effects you’re able to make with this is in my opinion superb. I have noticed after several listenings that the way you use this instrument, you manage to make a difference. The heavy beginning of ‘Sekem’ is such a small part, where the instruments move forward in the same pace for 25 seconds, but the keys changes a bit in the selection of the tunes. You have several such parts. How important is the keyboard as an instrument in THE AMENTA, and how do you develop these parts? You may wonder why I ask specially about this instrument, and the reason is that mostly extreme Metal bands that is closer to Death Metal than Black Metal seldom use the keyboard
“I’m very glad you noticed his effect. We work hard to make the keyboard an important part of the music. As the keyboard player, I don’t like other players who take the easy option and just play simple chords that blanket the music and often destroy the heaviness of the riff. We often write riffs based on keyboard parts and try to have the two play different parts of the same riff. It is important that the keys add to the riff with out taking anything away. Often the keys are more extreme than the guitars as we use distortion pedals and harsh samples. The reason we feel comfortable using keys in this genre of music is that there are no rules in extreme Metal."
Do you think your way of extreme Metal has something to offer the scene in originality? I mean, why do we need another extreme Metal band, in this case THE AMENTA?
“Definitely. Our sole motivation in music creation is originality and we really feel we are creating original music. The scene needs as much originality as it can get, as it is stifling under the myriad of bands that are churning out the same retro shit that bands have been churning out for years. All the great bands, the classic bands that everyone shamelessly rips off, were all pushing the boundaries. Unfortunately many bands think that if they imitate these bands, they too will be original.”
I assume you get a question or two concerning the title of the album. If not, let me be the first to ask you; what’s the depth behind such a title which doesn’t mean much to me? “Occasus”
““Occasus” is Latin, meaning alternatively west, sunset and decay. The west aspect refers to western society and references the relationship between the west and death in ancient mythologies and modern literature. The sunset represents the twilight of the western artistic and social empire. Finally the decay aspect is a reference to the decay of individual thought and thus of humanity.”
To me it seems from the words behind ‘Erebus’ that you’re not particularly happy with the spreading of the Christian disease, right? I don’t know if it’s Christianity, but you write “…when did we begin feeding on that lie when did we accept our own cages…”?
“’Erebus’ refers to the cages of any dogmatic thought controlling philosophy. Christianity is certainly one of these but it is definitely not the only one we refer to. Basically this song talks about how the simple minded are unhappy with their monotonous lives, so they turn to religion to try and find a meaning for their current suffering. However this meaning weighs on them with unnatural strictures that essentially deny the nature of man. The only way to fight this unhealthy denial is to accept all facets of mankind, be they refined or bestial.”
If we dive a little bit into ‘Zero’ I sense you’re talking about the common man, and his life. Like you write, “…what in monotony makes you dance…”. Do you think that the average way of life is not a good way to live?
“I think that the common man’s life is depressing. I can think of nothing worse than to work like a dog all week only to drown your sorrows on the weekend just to forget that you have to go back to your shitty life on Monday. No wonder these people turn to religion. They think that there has to be a meaning to explain their suffering. Unfortunately you live, you die, you rot. Don’t waste your short life with prayer and oblivion.”
As you write in the end of the track, “…find a new way of dying this one bores me…”. Could be you just think of it as death in itself, the common life?
“The final lines “find a new way of dying / this one bores me…” is just a final refusal to join the common herd. My life is more important than that. I don’t want to die before my time and that is exactly what the common life advocates. They ask us to live like shit and we will be rewarded later. Fuck that.”
So, in general, what drives you forward to write these lyrics of hopelessness and hate towards the human kind? What’s going on down there in Australia?
“We are driven to this subject by observation. Everywhere I turn I see a wasted life. And it isn’t just here in Australia, it’s everywhere. Look outside your window.”
There’s one think which puzzles me concerning the extreme Metal bands, and that how you ended up playing this form of ugly music that contains no beauty at all? It’s not sexy, it’s not beautiful, it’s not something you listen to as background music (at least not until you’re getting used to it)… So, what’s in it for you? Another thing is that this kind of music doesn’t reach many people? Why don’t make pop-music, convincing millions that they should change direction in their stupid lives?
"Maybe when we have something beautiful to say we will make beautiful music. Until then, the best expression of our thoughts is ugly, cold and extreme music. And we don’t want to convince millions of people. We advocate a personal revolution not a mass awakening.”
The promo-version, which I have of the "Occasus”, is really something. I wonder, the multimedia-session, is it just for this release?
“The multimedia section will be on the initial pressing of “Occasus” also. Multimedia sections are very important to us. It gives us an opportunity to add extras to the release and in this age of downloadable music bands need to offer something to the prospective buyer. We offer extra tracks, images, interviews and bios. We used a similar idea on the “Mictlan” MCD and we will continue to think outside the box when it comes to presentation.”
How do you feel that THE AMENTA should be promoted? I guess some would say as a Death Metal band, but I think you’re more than that
"THE AMENTA should be promoted as extreme music. As I have said earlier, it is a title that implies no rules. We deserve freedom from any outside forces that seek to control our music.”
Do you play live? If so, how do you transform your music onto stage without loosing all the details? About this, how’s the Metal life in Australia? Personally I have a go for SadistiK Exekution?
“It takes a lot of time and technology to replicate our album but we do play it all live. This includes samples, effects and interludes. We worked very hard to get the album to sound as it does and we thought it would be a shame to play simplified versions live, so we stocked up on samplers and keyboards and we have worked out our ways. Metal wise in Australia there are few venues and many of these are unplayable although there is a devoted core of fans and musicians. Musically the scene is definitely getting stronger as more bands are beginning to think for themselves rather than replicate what we hear from overseas."
Well, I think I leave you there for now and I won’t ask if you have something to add. Do you by chance think we should favour mother nature more, though not necessarily in the Greenpeace way but more like wiping 80-90 % of the human waste from the face of the Earth?
“Mother nature is a whore. We should kill her as well.”