Amen

Amen

Roadrunner Records, 1999

http://www.officialcaseychaos.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/24/2000

I'd like to think that in all the years I've listened to heavy metal, I've heard the angriest forms of music that man could ever come up with. But sometimes, even that can be taken to too far of an extreme.

Take the self-titled debut release from Amen, for example. This is 14 tracks of brutal, naked anger that the band tries to channel through their instruments. One problem, though - you have to have some kind of a safety valve when playing with such a combustible combination, and Amen have yet to learn how to try and balance out the anger.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oh, don't get me wrong; I know that Amen - vocalist Casey Chaos (where do they think of these names?), guitarists S. Mayo and Paul Fig, bassist Tumor, John and drummer Larkin - went all-out to capture the absolute fury that they feel. They shout, scream, pound on their instruments and make every conceivable noise known to rock music in the process - and the end result, while musical in some semblance, is pretty hard to listen to.

Part of it seems to be that Amen rejects everything that is modern-day society, writing them off as evils that must be stomped like a cockroach. Tracks like "Coma America," "Unclean," "TV Womb" and "No Cure For The Pure" all seem to point in that direction - at least what I could decipher from Chaos's balls-in-a-blender screams.

There are two major problems with Amen that I can hear. First, the band needs to realize that a constant sonic attack on the listener will eventually lead them to start tuning out the message - and this is the opposite effect of what Amen wanted to accomplish. Even a band like Rage Against The Machine realizes that you have to occasionally push the "depressurize" button to kind of bring the listener back to some level of status quo before you go after the jugular.

The second problem - and this is the fatal mistake that the band makes - is that they don't seem focused enough on the music to make the album that effective. Instead, it sounds like the sessions were used to pound out the tracks and to be a form of primal scream therapy. I mean, if I wanted to hear things like that, I'd go pick up the first solo albums from John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

This is all a shame, because somewhere in the haze of pissed-off aggression and full-throttle sloppy playing, I do hear potential for Amen to release an album that will knock people out of their shoes. Unfortunately, this isn't it.

2000 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner Records, and is used for information purposes only.

Rating: D-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner Records, and is used for informational purposes only.