Interview: James Benson of Amiensus Talks ‘Reclamation: Part 1’

The latest, prog-fueled album from Amiensus, Reclamation: Part 1, out now via M-Theory Audio, shows the band leaning full force into their melodic black metal sound. It’s an album that has been a while in the making.

“The writing process for this album was burgeoning; we—pretty immediately after releasing Abreaction, and even prior to the release, but between the completion of the mixing and release date—were demoing pretty furiously,” explains vocalist and guitarist James Benson. “That was our first LP in five years at the time, and it really sparked a lot of creativity. Per usual, most of the songwriters in the band started writing song structures and then presenting it to the band to fill in individual parts, but we also got together in groups to write some of the songs, including several vocal and acoustic writing sessions. We all gathered for the drum tracking in Green Bay, WI in late 2021/early 2022 for a week as well. Our former guitarist, who was a large part of our first two LPs, Restoration and Ascension, Joe Waller, also contributed three of the tracks on Part 2 of Reclamation.”

The lyrical themes focus on their typical fare, which includes loss, grief, and nature. These are all very standard for black metal, but according to Benson, the band doesn’t really pay attention to genre labels, despite having love for other bands in the scene.

I don’t really pay attention to it because I don’t really feel like we’ve ever attempted to fit that mold,” he admits. “It seems as strong as it’s ever been though. I find several great albums every year, and I have really talented friends who make incredible music in bands like Oak Pantheon, Morke, and Hekseblad. The band started out with a goal to mesh our influence of non-metal genres with our love of black metal instrumentation and vocals. For me personally, there is little ground I’m not willing to tread when writing for this band. Our last album opened with an indie-rock/grunge and metal influenced track. We’ve included live our friend Kakophonix on cello on several tracks on the new album again as well. There are several new vocal styles I tried out for this album also. Ultimately, we want to have fun making music, and we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves ever.”

Apparently, the band are already focusing on part two of this record, and they also have plans for several non-LP releases in the future.

We have plans to keep the Amiensus train rolling for several more years, thanks in part to the wide collection of songwriters associated with the band,” says Benson. “Thirteen years ago when I was just a young man entering adulthood, I set out to just make an album I loved with my friends. In my 30s now, still making and playing music with friends, and having an audience that still follows our releases, I’m ultimately extremely thrilled with where I and the band are at. Thank you to everyone old and new to Amiensus for giving us a listen. We’ll continue putting out music until it’s physically impossible.”

Reclamation, Part 1 is out now and you can order it from M-Theory Audio. Follow Amiensus on Facebook for future updates.

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