Amebix "Redux" CD/12"Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 @ 6:24 am » permalink
I highly doubt there are many people out there who ever thought they'd see the day that Amebix would reform, much less that said day would arrive more than 20 years after the band's initial demise… but indeed that day did come. Rob "The Baron" Miller and his brother Stig joined up with new drummer Roy Mayorga (it seems absolutely inconceivable that Amebix, of all bands, would ever share a member with Stone Sour, but let's not forget that Mayorga got his start with Nausea, who – along with Amebix – are probably amongst the top five most noted bands associated with the "crust punk" genre) in 2008, and a few years later this EP, "Redux" (from the legendary Profane Existence), sees the (even more legendary) band revisiting a handful of classic tracks.
Despite having been a longtime Amebix fan, I have to confess that when I found out this EP was going to consist solely of re-recorded material, I was a little disappointed. In some ways the band may be overlooking just how good their original work sounded "back in the day". Those old school recordings have such a weird sense of distance to the mixes, and a truly unique ruggedness that always played a significant role in the feeling of their work. So, do I think this was necessary? Nah. But that being said, I've been very pleasantly surprised by how good "Redux" is. There's absolutely no denying that these re-recordings are instantly identifiable as Amebix. For the most part they've stayed well true to the original arrangements and really do seem to simply be using modern technology to bump up the overall clarity and atmosphere of the compositions. The guitars are heavier and much more focal, but they haven't restrained any of the noisy textures or ringing dissonance, and the basslines are still fucking outstanding (and hugely prominent) – as are the vocals. The biggest change is that eerie synths (which are generally very tasteful) add subtle melodies or ambient soundscapes in far more obvious fashion here. This is only questionable during "Chain Reaction" (from "Monolith", easily my favorite Amebix release), which is the one track that feels ever so slightly "off" to me, as it's been slowed down and saturated with keyboard melodies that alter the original vibe of the piece more than I'd prefer. Perhaps they also went a little overboard with the intense reverb on its vocals. "Winter" sounds totally stunning, though: I think I could even argue that this rendition's better than the original!
The digital download version of the release includes a live rendition of "Progress?" as a bonus/preview for the band's forthcoming live album/DVD, which sounds shockingly awesome. It's well-documented that I almost always hate live performance recordings, but this shit sounds damn near as convincing as the three studio cuts. I'm impressed. When all's said and done this EP has me very eager to hear the new full-length the band is working on, so it certainly does its job…
The 12" comes with a download card (which means you'll be able to get the bonus live track) and a 5" x 6" embroidered patch, so… the vinyl kinda trumps the CD in terms of physical copies here.