Amenra is a five-piece post-metal band from Kortijk, West Flanders, Belgium. Their brooding, emotional style was developed as an outlet for grief, pain, and spiritual contemplation, and as a tool for therapy and healing. In 2005, the band formed the collective The Church of Ra, an umbrella community for collaborators, like-minded musicians, and Amenra sideprojects alike.
Amenra was founded in 1999 by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and lead guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove, and was thereafter joined by the drummer Bjorn J. Lebon, the guitarist Lennart Bossu, and the bassist Levy Seynaeve. Van Eeckhout is known for performing with his back to the audience, a practice that reflects his wish to divert attention away from the singer and towards the collective.
The first of their Mass studio album series (they have six to date) was released in 2003; the sixth and most recent, Mass VI, in 2017. This album, which features “works of music whose creation was fuelled by pure necessity”, was produced by Billy Anderson and recorded in the woods of the Belgian Ardennes. During the week of the recording, the band was snowed in and ate the same soup for eight days straight. In 2005, they were signed to the label Neurot Recordings, a label founded by members of Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot, two bands that deeply influenced Amenra’s music.
The band’s musical output is infused with religious references and symbolism that house curiosity about and devotion to the themes of life and death, light and darkness, hope and despair. The highly personal project of Amenra was born out of a desire on the part of the musicians to confront struggle and “the certainty of death” – in a 2014 video interview with PrettyinNoise TV, Colin van Eeckhout explains: “I scream because I want to fight the things that cast a shadow over my existence”. The band also directs this cathartic power outwards: “we are trying to leave something that is of a certain worth to at least one person in the world… if someone tells us that they were really helped in a certain situation because of our music, that’s the most beautiful compliment you can get as a musician.”