In a contemporary music scene where tensions sometimes emerge between the lack of originality in the renewal of some specific type of music and the constant search for innovation, it is both refreshing and pleasant to see a band doing its best to emerge with new ideas without denying who they are, like Amanita. The German post-rock band (not thegenus of mushrooms, something you will learn if you don’t take the time to add band when you google their name) describes their music as a mixture of post-rock, emo-surf and downtempo. Describing their influences as first and foremost in the post-rock genre, they nonetheless manage to add their own personal twist to the popular genre by coming up with their idiosyncratic sound.
They released a demo (as they call it – I would consider it a full-length both in length and quality) in 2014. From the very beginning, we know we’re not listening to a typical post-rock album; the sound and presence wrap around the atmosphere and surround us like few other records. The sound is melodic and yet at the same time powerful and disturbing. When the melody gets more mellow and smooth, there is still a deep feeling of doom and worries. The influences vary from stoner rock to early Mogwai, and the eclecticism, both in the approach of each member to his instrument and of the band as a whole, is what strikes the listener at first.
RELEASE DATE: 15 June 2015 LABEL: Lifeisafunnything
The World is Dead Prose To Me is their first (sophomore) album, following just a year after their self-titled. With a sound more in equilibrium, Amanita manages to evolve their music very positively in a very short amount of time.
After a promising intro (Wild Orphan) that sets a strong mood not very far from their precedent effort, Ne’evad’ti steps in with its Mogwai-esquedrumming, melodic guitars (in a Come on Die Young or Rock Action way) and its sonorous vocals. We soon get a strong doom impression, especially when the granular bass steps in; we cannot hear anything else! We just have let ourselves go in the powerful drone leitmotiv and get carried away by their calculated carelessness.
This is something that strikes us indeed. We have a feeling of relaxing and slipping away towards the album, but at the same time, we sense the control and sharpness of the musicianship. These guys know what they’re doing! The mood shifts are clearer than the last album, and the influences draw from a broader spectrum. We sense that they had the chance to find a good and original approach with their eponymous album; now, they just have to expand in that direction and dig deeper into these influences!
Attention! En rage starts with a more typical post-rock structure; a melodic leitmotiv and forward progression with a structure that we are kind of used to. Not exactly a bad song – because Amanita knows how to compose around the post-rock genre – but rather a standard one that won’t be the one we remember at the end of the album, especially because of what comes next.
The album finally ends with the song A Bright on the land and let me tell you something about that song: the structure is not that different from the previous song in the beginning, but everything is exactly in its place. The emotion is there, slowly passing through from the band to the listener, the progression is stable and powerful, the climax slowly emerges and so does the emotion. This is by every means the definition of a post-rock song for about 6 minutes, and then there’s an evolution into a dark, gloom and emo mood that is both original and perfectly shaped. To put this directly: this is one of the best songs of 2015 so far. This plays in the big leagues and beautifully evolves the sound of the epic moments of Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai.
It’s hard to give an objective view of the record after such a powerful moment, but Amanita delivers nonetheless a great record that has its share of magical moments. They aren’t scared of experimenting and getting into new territories and if they continue to approach their music like that, they will surely gain more and more followers in the future.