I really liked 2017’s Mass VI, so I’ve been really interested in hearing what sort of experience De Doorn had to offer. The answer, as if there was really any doubt, is something quite engaging.
Amenra, more than your typical band, are emotion given audio form. This entire album is infused with deep emotion; it drips it, it weeps it, it bleeds it. Amenra are very adept in the art of producing emotive music in their own right, but they’re joined on De Doorn by the singer of Oathbreaker, and her vocal contribution allows the band to ascend to even greater heights. In this way I’d compare De Doorn superficially to Mariner in the sense of the question – how do you improve a band already at the height of their powers? You add another vocalist, one who is extremely talented and charismatic.
The songs are richly textured pieces. They shimmer with beautiful resplendence, while also shuddering with apocalyptic intensity. Pained and agonising, the music is forced into an uncaring world to exist as something both vulnerable and impenetrable; the songs give, but they also conceal. The true inner heart of the music is forever just out of sight, but enough is revealed to tantalise and tempt the listener into ever more excursions into Amenra’s idiosyncratic world. This way, although you certainly get to know these creations better over time, there’s always so much more to learn on your next visit.
My only complaint? Too much spoken word, which I always despise. I will concede, however, that it’s better-realised here than it normally is, but still.
Despite this minor quibble, De Doorn is a very enjoyable work, and as a piece of art that you want to keep returning to, has plenty of longevity. Spending time with Amenra is always time well-spent.
Very highly recommended.