Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SF Bay Guardian Gives A Crusty Salute To Amebix.

No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings

Alternative Tentacles)
Original post

Amebix's music was - and is - the sound of squalor and bleakness. "Crust" is the style they're crediting with helping pioneer, and as genre names go, they don't get much more descriptive. Influenced as much by Motorhead as by anarcho-punks Crass, Amebix merged metal influences with a gutter-punk mindset and a sense of apocalyptic doom. The group sidestepped the loud-fast template that was so common among early punk-metal bands, opting for a moderately paced sound built around repetitive bass lines, washed-out guitars, vaguely tribal drumming, and the occasional thin layer of gloomy keyboards. The end result often resembled early Killing Joke with half the chops and a tenth of the recording budget, which may sound like a slight, but it really isn't.

No Sanctuary is a reissue of three long out-of-print EPs recorded by the British trio between 1982 and '84. The liner notes provide scant information on the recording sessions, but bassist-vocalist Rob "the Baron" Miller's remembrances are still telling: "We lived in very squalid conditions, often without running water or electricity.... We lived by either begging, stealing, or appropriating food from supermarket skips, using ... dole money to get wasted enough to try and forget." This helps explain not only the recording quality - which might affectionately be described as "shitty" - but also the general vibe of the music, which is every bit as barren as the cover art.

Jan. 25, 8 p.m., $16

Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, SF

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