Saturday, June 4, 2011
Amebix return with "Knights of The Black Sun"
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best a comeback can be. Like the raven in the video, Amebix have flown free of every trap that lies in wait for reunited bands. They haven't attempted to rewrite their old stuff. Nor have they abandoned their original vision in favor of an "updated" aesthetic. And they've routed the young upstarts from the field of battle...
Here's a genuinely stirring anthem, free from the pompous mood and ponderous songwriting that cripple would-be "epic crusters" like Morne. Those stark, noble guitar lines have nothing to do with "post-rock." They're straight from Joy Division, a band that has always influenced Amebix. By bringing out the melody that was always latent in their sound, they've found a way out of the creative stagnation that led to their breakup. In fact, Amebix have finally succeeded at something they always sort of tried to do--this is their first truly effective "ballad." Listening to the old albums, I sat through the earnest but clumsy clean vocal sections waiting for the hammer to drop. Here, the whole track is worth savoring. The Baron has found a way to inject melody into the gruff roar we all know and love. He sounds fucking awesome.
The lyrics are some of Amebix's best, finally free from the awkward turns of phrase that occasionally marred the Baron's powerful writing. Drawing on Blake, Milton, and the like, he sums up Amebix's grim but gleeful eschatology: the oncoming storm gives us reason to fear, but also to hope. "Knights of the Black Sun" stands as a challenge to the slave morality that has come to dominate the crust scene since the 80s. Here's anarchy for poets and warriors, not quibbling activists and pharisaical lifestyle politicians. There's no political program, just an ecstatic vision. The message isn't: "Stop oppressing us, that's wrong!" It's more like: "I will not serve. Now who's coming with me??" This is what punk and metal have always meant to me.
Listen to the whole song, the last lyrics are worth it. This is the sound of a band attaining what they've always envisioned for themselves. Hail the champions, risen from the dead!