De Dood In Bloei
For the first time in their 20-plus years of existence, Belgian post-metal shamans AMENRA have deviated from their longstanding tradition of entitling their albums in numbered “masses”—Mass I, Mass II, etc. The title of the band’s seventh full-length translates to The Thorn, and it also marks the first time that vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout sings entirely in his native Flemish. The majority of the music on De Doorn was composed by guitarist Lennart Bossu, also of fellow Belgian heavyweights Oathbreaker—and Oathbreaker singer Caro Tanghe contributes additional vocals throughout. “The lyrics are in Flemish because the songs were first written for a folkloric ritual we performed in the city where I live,” van Eeckhout tells Apple Music. “That’s why we felt the album wasn’t a ‘mass’—the songs were written from a completely different angle.” Below, he gives a glimpse behind each track.
“‘Ogen’ means eyes, and ‘troost’ comfort—like to comfort someone—so I just made a word by putting those two together. It’s like the look in someone’s eyes when you hit rock bottom, or the eyes of your mother when you’re a very sad child. Imagine if you have a really severe accident and you’re in a lot of pain and you don’t know if you’ll make it or not—it’s the eyes of the first person that comes to you and tries to tell you that everything’s going to be all right. And so, those eyes mean everything to you.”
“De Dood in Bloei”
“This is ‘death in bloom.’ It’s kind of a continuation of the previous song—they are all connected in this way—and I’m talking about how we will never overcome this kind of beauty. We are continuing in a movement that was started long ago, but this song is kind of a pause. On every album, we have a moment when everything becomes smaller and it’s a moment to rest. And then you continue with the heavier things.”
“Like ‘Ogentroost,’ this is a new word that I created. There is a phrase in Dutch that means we’re only human for a short while, so I made a word that describes this thing: de evenmens—the human that is only here for a little while. It sounds f**king decent in our language, but maybe not so much in yours.”
“The title means something like ‘the dawning,’ a new beginning. Structurally, the song has a very abrupt switch in the middle. It starts off with a very long, repetitive wave and then, in the bridge, it opens up before repeating itself musically as the first part. Then it abruptly stops and switches into an acoustic storytelling part. The voice is talking about the only one, the ever-existing one. It all has sort of a religious sounding weight to it, but I was trying to talk about life’s pains.”
“This means ‘forever.’ It was the first song written for the album and was probably the catalyst that made the rest of the songs possible. Lennart said he was always kind of torn between the two bands he was in, Oathbreaker and AMENRA. When he was writing, he always had difficulty judging riffs. When he was writing this song, he said that in the past he would have categorized it for Oathbreaker, but now that he’s been with us for so long, he understands that there was also a place for this within AMENRA. Lyrically, it’s about putting things to rest.”