AMENRA To Celebrate Their 20th Year As Saturday Headliners At DESERTFEST
Desertfest round off our their most diverse field of headliners in the festival's history with Belgium's AMENRA as they celebrate their 20th year of ethereal heaviness at The Electric Ballroom in London on Saturday, May 4.
Formed in Kortrjik, Belgium in 1999 by Colin H. van Eeckhout (vocals) and Mathieu Vandekerckhove (lead guitar) - both formerly of the hardcore punk outfit Spineless - AMENRA’s mission statement has always been to create music which leans more forcefully into the influences of the heart and the soul. Over the years, that goal has been achieved via a sound which, whilst rooted to post-metal, has delighted in straying into the realms of doom, sludge and hardcore to name but a small scattering of the paths AMENRA have walked.
Always engaging, whichever era of the band you delve into, AMENRA's series of six albums - titled Mass I through to Mass VI - and countless splits, collaborations, EP's and even side projects showcase a team of musicians with a singularly voracious aim of producing something special and meaningful with every ounce of their combined energies. AMENRA’s vision and DIY ethic is one with enough weight that it expands outside of the core of the band and into their hugely respected Church of Ra collective, which boasts Oathbreaker, Wiegedood, Hessian, The Black Heart Rebellion and more as proud members. To say that AMENRA have a wide reaching influence on the world of atmospheric heavy is a huge understatement.
Founding member CHVE had this to say about their upcoming appearance:
"Two decades of friendship brought us here. In this time, this place, of sublime gratitude, we all found solace in our sound; and are still around. It’s hard sometimes to look back - the moments of happiness we shared and those moments that broke us - through thick and thin; above anything I feel grateful. Grateful towards all band members, towards all people that stood and still stand by us throughout the years, thats why we want to celebrate it with you. We realize that what we have is special, maybe one of a kind. That is why we want to celebrate it with you and thank you for helping us persevere. Throughout the year we will do a select amount of specially chosen shows, and Desertfest London will be one of those moments where it all comes together - where we all come together - and persevere."
Desertfest are playing host to not one, but two special sets celebrating their contributions to ethereal ambient sounds. In addition to their Saturday night headline performance, on Sunday at The Underworld, we bear witness to a more intimate project; CHVE x Syndrome. As Amenra's two founding members, Colin H. van Eeckhout (vocals) and Mathieu Vandekerckhove (lead guitar) have a long history of working together musically, though, as with any great artist, both eventually desired an outlet for solo material; thus were born CHVE (Eeckhout) and Syndrome (Vandekerckhove) respectively. More delicate than their combined efforts, and both with a heavier leaning into the droning tones, CHVE & Syndrome have created legitimate masterpieces (See Rasa and Forever and a Day for clear evidence of this) whilst treading their own personal paths, producing music which is good for the soul.