Crust. I think of two things: pie and bread. I didn’t know it was a genre. Neither did Him Indoors, and he knows a lot about rock. Apparently it’s a meeting of punk and metal and isn’t hardcore. I picked The Messenger off The Quietus Best of 2011 Spotify playlist –  it was one of those effing-hell-must-play-this-again-immediately moments. Jaw, meet floor. 

Apparently Amebix were formed in 1978 as The Band With No Name. Contradicting the smug maxim that “those who can’t write”, Rob Miller abused his position writing for a local paper to give a tape to Crass, who featured their song on their Bulls*** Detector compilation. They changed their name to Amebix (something to do with an amoeba), and started hanging out with Jello Biafra. They were Alternative Tentacles’ first signing. Amebix split up in 1987 and reformed in 2008, releasing the album Sonic Mass in 2011.

The band cite Killing Joke as an influence, and that is what made me feel all tingly when I heard them – Rob Miller’s voice is a dead ringer for Jazz Coleman’s. It’s an incredible voice. The Messenger would have blended in nicely with Pandemonium, one of my all-time favourite records. It just sounds enormous. I love great big chunky, dirty riffs and these are about as big and chunky and dirty as riffs come. Apparently, Amebix in turn inspired Sepultura.

I’m trying to listen to the album now on Spotify, but I can’t get past The Messenger because each time it ends I play it again.



(Let’s take a slight detour for a moment)


And we’re back. Hmm. It seems that The Messenger is a bit of a one-off, and not really indicative of the band’s regular sound. This one has been likened to power metal. It’s certainly melodramatic, but thankfully avoids the falsetto singing and stuff about unicorns. That’s actually surprising, since the imagery and lyrics thus far have led me to imagine they’re no strangers to dressing up and poncing about at Stonehenge. This at least has those gut-busting drums I enjoy so much.



Still sounds like Killing Joke.

Rooting around some more, they seem to have covered a lot of bases, and some of it I like and some of it I don’t. There’s enough to keep me digging, though, and certainly sufficient to inspire me to listen to the rest of Sonic Mass.

At least to find out whether there’s anything on it that doesn’t remind me of Killing Joke.





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