Amenra

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BORIS

HEAVEN, LON­DON

BEL­GIUM’S SPIR­I­TUAL BOUND­ARY-PUSH­ERS HIT CRIT­I­CAL MASS

JA­PAN’S BORIS [6] are play­ing their new al­bum Dear in full tonight, and opener D.O.W.N. – Dom­i­na­tion Of Wait­ing Noise is ex­actly what you’d ex­pect: a dron­ing, dense wall of noise played in near-dark­ness with oc­ca­sional strobes of light. They also stray into doom, garage rock and mo­ments of melody. It’s just a shame that the over­bear­ing vol­ume drowns out many mo­ments of their set.

AMENRA [9] live are an all-con­sum­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, right from front­man Colin H van Eeck­hout’s skulk­ing ar­rival, as he crouches on the floor and pounds two pipes to­gether rit­u­al­is­ti­cally while the other mem­bers pad softly on­stage. The an­tic­i­pa­tion is ag­o­nis­ing, and it doesn’t end when they fi­nally delve into the des­o­late Bo­den while bar­ren black and white nat­u­ral im­agery flashes on the screen be­hind them. Tonight’s set is all about con­trasts so se­vere they yank your senses and emo­tions in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, par­tic­u­larly with his vo­cals that vary from harrowing wails to painfully frag­ile whis­pers. Van Eeck­hout is a pro­foundly phys­i­cal per­former, twist­ing and dis­tort­ing his body with his back to the au­di­ence; though he oc­ca­sion­ally turns to face us, it’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. He’s im­mersed in the mu­sic, fully let­ting go in a way that’s un­self­con­sciously pri­mal and also in­cred­i­bly emo­tion­ally af­fect­ing. Though Amenra are un­de­ni­ably bleak, there’s an odd cathar­sis in their out­pour­ing, and though you feel bat­tered by the time they qui­etly slip off­stage – they’re not ones for en­cores – there is also a re­liev­ing sense of purge and re­lease.

HAN­NAH MAY KILROY

amenra’s colin h van eeck­hout en­ters a higher state

Boris’s sound gets lost in a pur­ple haze

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