Life Was Never Hard Until I Opened My Eyes

A statement has never held a truer reflection of my feelings about life. It is the easiest thing in the world to be, and remain ignorant of the truth, which is probably why luminary thinkers, revolutionaries and other influential figures are rarities, rather than the majority. It a hard thing to go against the grain, to not allow yourself to be influenced by everything that has so successfully kept the status quo for so long. In this day and age, there should be no excuse for ignorance, with the technology and mind-numbing depth of information available to us at the click of a button, there is no excuse to not know about the world. You can’t blame your parents,  you can’t blame your teachers, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on the realities of life. So if you feel confronted by this notion, too bad, either accept that you fall into this category, or go out and use that brain of yours. If you are one of us “free thinkers” as Nietchke calls us, you probably don’t care what I’m saying right now, you agree, but don’t feel the need to acknowledge that which you already know. This I think is the most important mindset to hold, it’s not a matter of “not caring” but having the confidence and ability to be your own philosopher, so accept the ideas of others, but to not subscribe the another’s thoughts. We can all share common opinions and insights, but we must remain our own masters, otherwise we just become another one of “them”, the sheep, the apostles, the congregation of the status quo. Avoiding being sucked into the vortex of common(corrupted) thought is the easy part, dealing with the emotional strain, the “great depression of cold truth” is the hardest thing to deal with. It’s so easy to stay positive when you ignore the negative aspects of the world, but when you allow the whole picture to be revealed, when you remove those blinkers, sh** gets a whole lot grimmer, but I would rather be angry, sad, and disappointed, knowing that I don’t live in denial, and allowing myself to truly enjoy the positive aspects of the world when they happen, knowing just how rare they have become. I feel like I lack the literary ability to acceptably express my feelings on this matter, but luckily there have been others in history who have possessed this ability. So here is one of my favourite exerts from Friedrich Nietchke’s “Beyond Good and Evil”:

“There are few pains so grievous as to have seen, divined, or experienced how an exceptional man has missed his way and deteriorated; but he who has the rare eye for the universal danger of “man” himself DETERIORATING, he who like us has recognized the extraordinary fortuitousness which has hitherto played it’s game in respect to the future of mankind – a game in which neither the hand, nor even a “finger o god” has participated! – he who divines the fate that is hidden under the idiotic unwariness and blind confidence of “modern ideas,” and still more under the whole of Christo-European morality – suffers from an anguish with which no other is to be compared. He sees at a glance all that could still BE MADE OUT OF MAN through a favourable accumulation and augmentation of human powers and arrangements; he is for the greatest possibilities, and how often in the past the type man has stood in presence of mysterious decisions and new paths:- he knows still better from his painfulest recollections on what wretched obstacles promising developments of the highest rank have hitherto usually gone to pieces, broken down, sunk, and become contemptible. The UNIVERSAL DEGENERACY OF MANKIND to the level of the “man of the future” – as dwarfing of man to an absolutely gregarious animal (or as they call it, to a man of “free society”), this brutalizing of man into a pygmy with equal rights and claims, is undoubtedly POSSIBLE! He who has thought out this possibility to it’ ultimate conclusion know ANOTHER loathing unknown to the rest of mankind – and perhaps also a new MISSION!”

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Great speech.

Information is a powerful thing, and it baffles me why so many people can be content going through life as just another ignorant human being.

Whether you’re vegan or not, knowledge is power, and knowing the truth about these issues is an empowering endeavour.

So take the hour you would be spending mindlessly staring at commercial tv or playing video games, and watch this speech, it is informative and very well constructed.

Amenra

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Who is Amenra?
AR is a band that formed in 1999. we got together with the intention of using the medium of music to it’s full extent. make it mean something. to everyone. and make it worth the while. explore the sacred. with bundled creative energy. Use it as a force of nature, instead of a form of ‘entertainment’. Quickly we realized that there is more to it than sound, and tore it wide open. Right now the Church of Ra is a circle of likeminded souls, artists of all kinds that work together on a higher ground, be it musicians, video/performance artists, painters, dancers, graphic designers etc..

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How would you describe Amenra’s music for those that may not have heard it before?
It cuts and tears you wide open, even if you don’t want it to. ‘Your style of music’ or not it sucks you right in, because of the shear honesty in it, the reality it represents. If it’s not your reality now, it will be soon. Heavy and heartfelt, honest and sincere. Five individuals that lower their guard for you, let you in. then take you with them.

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What have been the cultural/musical influences on Amenra’s image and sound?
We all come from a small part in Belgium called, West Flanders. A rural area, drenched in a catholic grip. The soil of some of the worlds biggest wars. This is where we formed our characters, and let them blend with each other now 13 years ago. Pretty much everything we saw or experienced throughout our existence influenced us, and influences us still. what we see and feel everyday is what drives us. As for musical influences. They are so wide spread that it makes it hard to give a summation.. tool, crowbar, neurosis, bolt thrower could lie at the base – maybe together with nineties, hc and screamo (Catharsis, Acme, Unbroken, Mean Season etc). nowadays acts like Woven Hand, Massive Attack and Portishead for example sometimes get woven in there..

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I’ve noticed a recent boom of incredible bands coming out of Belgium, what do you think contributes to this?
I think that seeing small bands from friends become something worldly inspires I guess, it makes it possible. there’s a hell of a lot of crossbreeding between those different bands. It makes it easier to start from. Ghent is pretty much the centre of all that creative response. I’m afraid I don’t know what exactly contributes to this, I think we push each other and inspire each other constantly, and above all we’ve got each other’s back and all help each other where we can.

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Art seems to be a huge part of Amenra’s existence, can you shed some light on this and explain a bit about the Church or Ra?
Like stated above, through profiling us as who or what we are we attracted all kinds of talented kinds of likeminded people, kindred spirits. who you recognize while shaking hands, in a blink of an eye. we bundle our forces cooperate in all sorts of projects, do art exhibitions etc..  I strongly believe we are all looking for the same truth and in our interfering with each other. We help each other a step closer to that truth. the art used is merely another medium for what we have always tried to do with the foremost important thing we create, Amenra’s music. we try to open spiritual gates, offer answers to those who need them. give comfort and show compassion to the unconsoled. we share our grief, even though grief is something that cannot be shared.

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What can people expect from an Amenra live experience?
That’s something you might want to ask someone who actually experienced one. I have never experienced one in my life. I am right in the middle of the stage, not in front of it. I can only say, that things change perspective, when we play live. Thoughts shift towards places you sometimes don’t want to go.

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How does it feel to be a part of Neurot family, and sharing a label, and a stage with the likes of Neurosis?
Still difficult to believe, I think we’ll finally find some rest. when that mass V album finally sees daylight. It’s a gods gift to be able to meet persons of whom you really admire their work. and when you actually get recognition from them, then you step in the next reality. Amenra has really been a vehicle for us to surpass our own limitations or aspirations. It has really become our means to accomplish dreams.

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What is your favourite Neurosis album?
Through Silver in Blood, no doubt. This is by far one of the most important records in my life.

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Can you explain the story behind the church you played in with Hessian, Oathbreaker etc.?
Every year around the same period we schedule a show that kinda surpasses. your average show. here we wanted to bring everyone together under one roof. all the bands that are close to Amenra, side projects and befriended bands. COR bands if you will. as a location we chose an old Dominican church in the centre of Ghent. Syndrome, Sembler Deah, Kingdom, Black Heart Rebellion, Hessian and Oathbreaker played that night, and there was a COR art exhibition at the site. Amenra was not going to perform that night, cause we wanted the focus to be on all the other bands. but later on plans changed. bands merged and played songs together and so on. The date chosen was 15 may. my day of birth and also the date on which I buried my father, now 10 years ago. I was at mass that day, surrounded by the people I love. my family.

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You have a new split 7″ coming our soon, who is it with, and what can we except it to sound like?
I will not reveal the name yet, even though it’s only a matter of days, I can only say it’s one of our most recent and most promising bands. a now Amenra side project. they’ll bring an unreleased song on – which I do guest vocals. and I found it one of the most interesting projects to work on in the latest years. it felt like we made the world bigger together. Amenra features the song shapeless pain II a live recording from during our 23.10 concert in the city theatre of Kortrijk. where we all were born. mixed and mastered by Billy Anderson.

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Are you recording currently? How is it going so far?
We will be recording demos next week for our actual recording in April. We’ll record the actual record with Billy in a chapel in the Belgian Ardennes, booked time and will stay there for approx. 10 days. and come out with a newly formed. mass V.

Do you have any plans to bring the Amenra live experience to the southern hemisphere, Asia/Australia?
we are all about unspoken plans.

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What bands should we check out and why?
Caan, Harlowe, Chve, Kingdom, Sembler Deah, Syndrome, Hessian, Oathbreaker, Black heart Rebellion, Blind to faith, Rise and Fall, Eleanora, Kapitan Korsakov … to name a few 😉 and that’s only Ghent.