While distortion and howling vocals can make a band heavy, the emotion behind the music often brings an added element of heaviness that boosts all of the other components. On Mass VI, Belgian sludge act Amenra show just how effective a meaningful, dark context can be at creating a fresh and powerful sound.
From the ominous, clean guitar intro to the blood-curdling shrieks and doomed-out riffs on "Children of the Eye," a sense of doom and despair is established on the album, and is felt in every note. The tragedies that members of Amenra have gone through (such as vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout's son suffering from a brain tumour) cast a shadow across the album that makes for an uncomfortable yet powerful listen. The droned-out riffs on "Plus Pres de Toi" feel like they could last an eternity, while seamlessly slipping in and out of distorted madness and calming cleans. Closing song "Diaken" builds on the gloomy intro by interweaving it throughout the track's clean breaks and utterly destructive distorted sections, bringing together the album for one final moment of anguish.
Mass VI is an emotional album that tackles the human experience with a thick overtone of distress. The music is interesting and avoids the dull clichés that many doom bands rely on. The only downfall of the album is that songs start to blend in with each other as the record progresses, making the album much better to listen to as one cohesive piece rather than as standalone tracks. (Neurot)