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The Amenta @ The Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood

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Audiences have come to know what to expect from Sydney’s The Amenta, and that is a dark and grimy stage show amplified by some of the most intense metal currently being made in Australia.

Setting the black metal tone for the evening was Dead River Runs Dry (NSW), followed by Melbourne locals Whoretopsy who delivered their bludgeoning blend of death metal to a growing crowd.

After seeing Ouroboros at The Bendigo with House of Thumbs in May, they definitely looked more comfortable on stage this time around. The tightly structured nature of their music is always well-executed in a live setting, although their enthusiasm still didn’t quite seem at one hundred per cent and this is probably why they failed to fully engage the crowd. Nevertheless, showcasing half of their 2011 release Glorification of a Myth, Ouroboros’ live show is every bit as refined as the recording, opening with Black Hole Generator and closing with Animal, Man… Machine.

A change of pace, Tasmanian black metal fiends Ruins came out on stage with a raucous energy that was happily reciprocated. With their thick, sludgy riffs and attitudes of reckless abandon there was barely a head in the place that wasn’t banging. They totally slayed A Lesson In Ruthlessness (Shirtlessness?) and a number of other songs off their latest album Place Of No Pity (2012) including Death Lends The Ultimate Touch. The Sum Of Your Loss (from 2009’s Front The Final Foes) was killer and throughout the set their raw, boisterous energy never wavered, though they only played Where Time is Left Behind from Cauldron (2008). At times the flow of their set lagged with the constant intermission of samples (as bloodcurdlingly-cool as they were) and Alex Pope – sans guitar – made repeated attempts at starting a chant in which the crowd seemed to lose interest, yet their set was tight from start to finish and the sound, as it was all evening, was loud, crunchy and well balanced.

For full effect, The Amenta are best experienced in as small and terrifyingly claustrophobic setting as possible. Their 2011 show at The Arthouse was exceptional for this reason, and the full-on sensory immersion of the strobe and laser lights, fused with their deafening barrage of industrial black metal, was well suited to the crusty little room at The Bendigo. Opening with the title track of their 2011 EP VO1D, The Amenta never disappoint. Their dark, chaotic music is completely engulfing in a live setting and the body paint, the chains and the creepy contacts make the whole experience of The Amenta that much more intense. Admittedly, the Go-Pro’s plastered everywhere were kind of distracting but the bassist leering into the crowd with a serpentine tongue sucks you right back into the show.

Cain is an excellent frontman, draped in heavy metal and entertaining the crowd with his routine demonic writhings, and the unified animation of all three members at the front was nothing but engaging. While it was noted that keyboardist Timothy Pope was again absent, the return of Dave Haley on drums was definitely a highlight. Haley’s practically faultless back-to-back performance was a standout and the range of songs from across The Amenta’s discography kept the crowd happy.

A solid night of extreme Australian metal!

The Amenta Setlist:
1. Vo1D
2. Flesh Is Heir
3. Ego Ergo Sum
4. Mictlan
5. Nihil
6. Vermin
7. Dirt
8. Erebus
9. Teeth

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