Industrial grinders THE AMENTA have been metal's hopeful answer to SKINNY PUPPY but their biggest asset has been their motorized blast beats which frequently come jacked overtop laggard sub-tempos. THE AMENTA's knack for polyrhythm is commendable and often fearsome, yet on their third full-length album, "Flesh is Heir", their main goal is to sweep listeners into a chilly prism of mechanized madness, then bludgeon them senseless.
Having been around since 1997, THE AMENTA have proven to be skilled electronic manipulators of toxic black and death metal tones as if the entire ethos was placed before the expressive minds of En Esch, William Rieflin and the entire PIGFACE collective. While THE AMENTA's last full-length, 2008's "nOn", might be said to be more full-frontal, "Flesh is Heir" is meticulous and frankly, really damned scary. "Cell" would readily serve the soundtrack to a film adaptation of Stephen King's novel by the same name. So go ahead, Hollywood, a triple dog dare you has been laid before you.
Following the band's 2012 EP "V01D", new vocalist Cain Cressall lambastes the tar out of the ghastly "Flesh is Heir", an album that gains strength after meandering and grafting through the opening tracks. One can actually detect stitching effects on the title cut, "Ego Ergo Sum" and "Teeth", straight down to the harrowing guitar slits from Erik "Ethion" Miehs on the latter song. Now-former drummer Robin Stone (who's since been replaced by the returning Dave "Diazonon" Haley) lays down spine-tingling triplicates and blast patterns, but he keeps an edgy backbeat that restrains the songs as much as they erupt in doses. Stone is finally unchained on the ferocious closing trio of "Disintegrate", "A Palmipest" and the vivid "Tabula Rasa".
If there is any drawback to "Flesh is Heir" outside of the occasional muddiness in the sound, it's the repetition of primary songwriting schemes and riff chunks that will make some of the songs hard to disseminate to those who don't listen to THE AMENTA frequently. What "Flesh is Heir" generally lacks in dynamics (albeit "The Argument" and "Cell" are the album's most distinct and articulated tracks) is compensated by panicky airs of distress extolled through Miehs and Dan Quinlan's stop-go shredding attacks, Robin Stone's roundhouse pulverizing and Timothy Pope's gloomy programming.
"Flesh is Heir" feels like the packaging artwork conveys. It is a senses-ripping, flesh-tearing, chained-up state of calamity that sieves its links of despair in measurements. "Ego Ergo Sum" is the perfect song title as those coming to this album are going to be methodically whacked to the point they begin to doubt their flogged wits. An implied sense of asphyxiation and torture prevails over "Flesh is Heir"'s splattery lilt and the album's frosty electro histrionics calculate unavoidable doom. A cozy prospect only if you've got "Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer" rolling in tandem.