I’ve never been a big fan of Punk in any form. I will admit to having some albums, mostly from that era when I was trying to get my head around the whole Grindcore phenomenon (which, for the most part, was just a more chaotic and extreme form of British Hardcore). That being said, I’ve never had much exposure to Amebix, who were always filed in the Punk/Hardcore section. Add to this the fact that this band hasn’t released a full-length album since 1987 and you can see why I don’t have much history with them. I checked out some of their back catalog online (YouTube is a great way to listen to this kind of stuff without illegally downloading anything) and when you compare Sonic Mass to the older music by this band, it sounds completely different. The only thing that is comparable is their 2010 EP, Redux. The album starts off with a somber ballad called “Days” and this segues into the more hard-driving material. The hard-driving stuff still doesn’t compare to their old “angry Punk Rock” era work, though. This album has elements of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and even Neo-Folk (in terms of lyrical content), all blended together. I’ve listened to this LP about a dozen times already and I’ve yet to get tired of it. Motorhead looms large as an influence here, far more so now than on their earlier releases. This is a well put together album that flows very well from one song to the next. You can tell that the band put a lot of work into putting this album together and by the time I hit “Knights of the Black Sun,” I was almost sad that this had to come to an end. Sonic Mass is getting a lot of play, and while I still like the new Chthonic album better, I’d still put this one in my top ten for the year.
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