Thank you for not releasing 'Monolith' part 2. That was exactly what I had been hoping to hear ever since 'Sonic Mass' was announced.
Why wouldn't I want an another Amebix album from that classic era? 'Monolith', in my opinion, slightly tops even the masterpiece that is 'Arise'. So it was this bias that I brought to the first 'Sonic Mass' listen; I wasn't exactly disappointed, but more confused than anything else really. I kept an open mind and it dawned on me that I had found an album that I didn't know I was looking for, if that makes any sense.
The new album has quickly become my favourite Amebix record; 'Sonic Mass' draws on so many varied influences that eventually I came to realize that this was a continuation of Arise or Monolith, but without the responsibility of having to sound exactly like the first two albums. The band could have easily played it safe and released something that fans would have loved instantly, it took guts to not do that and challenge the listener thought. 'Sonic Mass' has broken Amebix out of what everyone else thinks the band should sound. And the result is infinitely more rewarding; I have never heard an album like 'Sonic Mass', this is something new and unique. Listening to the haunting song "Days", I realized that the punk/metal scene of the 'Arise'-era wouldn't have had an open enough mind to accept the beauty of the song. To me, it seems that the same is true of most of the album; the spine chilling "Sonic Mass part 1" would have never made it past the punk censors.
Other songs like "the One", "Here Comes the Wolf", and "God of the Grain" are a little more in line with the 'classic' Amebix sound that everyone expects, but contain so much more. Listening to the album, I can hear that every song on 'Sonic Mass' has had so much poured into them. Thought, instinct, hope, heart, soul, history, and ultimately love.
It is obvious that 'Sonic Mass' sounds like a labour of love, and maybe that is part of why the album is so evocative and powerful? The songs flow from one to another in a way that I can't help but dedicate myself to focus on and listen to the album as a whole.
Obviously, this album must have been a huge risk for Amebix but one that I'm glad the band took. All of the 'classic' elements of Amebix are there for the listener; tribal drumming, rumbling bass, powerful guitar and snarling vocals. Fans just need to listen a little deeper with an open mind and the true brilliance of 'Sonic Mass' will envelope them.