Amebix always had something that other crust bands lacked, a sense of the mystical or something existing beyond the consumerist, political, atomized, and individualistic modern world. It seemed to be connecting to something both ancient and futuristic.
Messengers of Deception takes the intensity of early Amebix, mixes it with the heavy metal of Monolith, and slowly integrates other elements of the foundational civilizational clash found in the 1980s, namely a highly Romanticized industrial element like Sisters of Mercy, and an MTV-ready theatrical progression that can stand up to the slick speeches, booming audio, pro-printed signs, and easy indulgences of the modern world.
Imagine yourself in 1984: MTV has just hit, and we find ourselves overwhelmed by how powerful this new format is at manipulating emotion. Little movies, clear and synthetic production, songs that are catchy as hell with an undertone of melancholic emotion for a dying world, more intensely focused than 1970s rock but less connected to real-world experience than to big concepts, epic-sounding titles, and what seems like the voice of human experience united but might simply be the whisper of control.
Stereos have become affordable since the last decade, and blast music at you too loud to not overwhelm your agency. Video games on the Atari and Nintendo capture consciousness; big special effects movies in the theaters, awesome sound systems there, super-emotional plots and 1980s movies about teenagers, twenty-four news with experts on staff, futuristic cars and computers, as the hand-lettered signs get replaced by full color and perfect fonts, and the constant threat of seven minutes until nuclear holocaust signal to you that Modernity has finally Arrived.
In quiet moments when you stand above the city on a hilltop and look over the lights, you get the intimation that our species has gone beyond its depth and we are staring into the eyes of the beast that will take over our minds through our desires. Someone wants to remind us that this is a fake world, and that a real world exists where we can discover it with intuition so that we look beyond the human symbols, human emotions, human socialization, and propaganda blaring from loudspeakers.
Messengers of Deception has the power of the MTV bands, the guts of metal, and the plain self-actualized honesty of punk. Unabashedly catchy with the falling choruses that make audiences swoon, it encrypts its actual message in the change of textures, pointing to a clash between the bright neon public reality of the group and the organic, complex, and unpredictable world within.
This music stabs back at modernity by starting with the same infectious but hypnotic rhythms that Amebix applied in its earliest work like Sanctuary, but then layers on that darker versions of the same patterns that dominated the airwaves, transitioning through conflict and aggregation into a sweeping conclusion that gathers up the ruins of the world and makes sense of them in a clear union of melody and rhythm.
Like Iron Maiden or Danzig, this album falls between genre categories and finds a voice of its own not based on style but adapting style like camouflage to the sensations and expressions of each track. These tracks then fit together into a journey that starts at the surface, falls below, considers its enemy, and then dives deeply into its own environment to make the hidden conflicts of its melodic elements arise, present themselves clearly, and not so much resolve as lead to another place. Best listened to loud on repeat.