Amenra’s sixth musical Mass (entitled Mass VI, naturally) is a rousing and chilling success because it highlights the group’s keen understanding of what has made religion still so enchanting after thousands of years. At its best, religion serves two key purposes: to provide a sense of community among its believers and to showcase the beauty of ritual. These Belgians have been perfecting their unique aesthetic and artistic take on musical religious experiences, and part of why it has worked so well over the years is that, unlike a lot of similarly-minded artists, Amenra truly get how to make spiritually-charged music.
Sure, Mass VI isn’t probably the best album to show Sister Margaret after Church on Sunday, but Mass VI is a stunning musical and artistic expression that gets a bit deeper than even the best post-metal does. This is a truly emotional and soul-gripping work that connects me to the harrowing despondency of the band’s mindset; it’s a dark yet welcoming listen, and the group’s impressive musical vision has never been better, resulting in a ritual that feels like a religious ritual. Gut-wrenching falsettos are interspersed with stomach-clenching sludge riffs. Mass VI is a masterclass in contrast, with the emphatic “Plus Pres De Toi” serving a truly powerful rendition of what makes Amenra’s take on post-metal so special.
Even the two spoken word interludes feel like necessary chants and reprieves from the crushing onslaught. Amenra’s sixth album is their apex and feels like one of the best post-metal albums ever because the band use the familiar formula to create the most religious album I’ve ever heard in all senses of the word. Mass VI is an affecting, transcendent listening experience that brings me back to some of my most religious experiences. I’ve been in attendance when one million Catholics said “Amen” in unison. I’ve read from Saint Peter’s epistle at a Mass at the Saint’s Tomb, and I’ve married the love of my life. I’m not putting this experience at the level of those (love you, wife!), but Amenra’s latest opus captures the essence of what made those moments so special. Amenra are hear to evangelize the populace with one Hell of a Gospel.