AMEBIX

Formed: Devon, England, UK

Band Bio / Discography / Lineups

AMEBIX

"Your god is your chains
Reject your god, reject your system
Do you really want your freedom?"
" No Gods, No Masters"

Were they punks? Anarcho-punks? Goths? Mods? Er, probably not mods. Or some spittle-drenched crusty types with dreadlocks, a penchant for horror movies, impending doom, sacrilege, and Stonehenge? No, they were all these things (although not mods, obviously) and more…Amebix!

FlyerIn terms of doom, gloom and intense bleakness, these crazy anarcho grunge metal punk crust/noise pioneers certainly gave Jaz Coleman and boys a run for their money. Their three singles for Spiderleg and their debut album, Arise! rank amongst the heaviest the period had to offer. With scenarios of religious oppression, axe murderers and institutionalised murder, their music/noise was either terrifically awesome or unbelievably awful, depending on your “taste”. Despite some shortcomings - poor production, the incongruity of The Baron's West Country accent, occasionally draggy material - the Amebix were actually very good indeed, albeit only for a short time (1982-1985 to be precise).

Formed mid-1978 as The Band With No Name, they came to national prominence on the first and worst of Crass Records Bullshit Detector compilations. ‘University Challenged’ originated from their self-distributed 6-track tape from 1979, only four copies of which were ever sold (they claim). If this fucking terrible song was the best it had to offer it's easy to see why. It sounds nothing like their later work, and is an abysmal piece of olde style punk, excruciatingly inept and useless and lumpy and just simply wank.

Everything started going weird and wonderful when they ditched their drummer Bill in favour of Martin Baker, a 6'6" tall schizophrenic whose rich parents let him run riot in their run-down old manor house on the edge of Dartmoor. They took a huge amount of drugs, drank a vast amount of cider, and listened to Killing Joke. The fun ended when Martin's parents came home and had him sectioned. This was immortalised in the song 'Largactyl':

LARGACTYL

You're standing on a hill
looking down at the city
Thinking 'bout your life
and your bottle of pills
They released you from the hospital,
you're cured!
So this is how freedom feels?

Largactyl Relax (it's only paranoia)

Feel a little numb? Feel a little tired?
Your brain’s asleep and your body’s retired
You've learned to fit in. OBEY!
You’re just a shadow of what you used to be

Largactyl Relax (it's only paranoia)

A comfortable life? A car and a wife?
It’s only a dream but it’s fuckin’ obscene
You've learned to fit in, a vegetable!
Senility! At 21 they'll be coming for you

The rest of the band moved to a squat in Bristol, home to a thriving punk scene (Disorder, Vice Squad, Chaos U.K. etc) and changed their name to Amebix. After recruiting a new drummer - Virus - they signed to Spiderleg, releasing the aforementioned singles. These records sold well and ultimately proved hugely influential, with the likes of Sepultura and Neurosis (for instance) citing their crunching, grinding guitars, anguished vocals, and blaring industrial synth noises.

NO GODS NO MASTERS

Your god is your chains
Reject your god reject your system
Do you really want your freedom

BEGINNING OF THE END

What will you do when your properties gone?
When the finger on the triggers your one and only son?
When the money in your pocket cannot buy even bread?
The city has crumbled, the people have been bled

Looks like the beginning of the end

The machine has grown to crush the world, the walls are getting higher.
The youth will be the first to throw themselves upon the pyre.
The reason for living seems so fruitless in the aftermath
when we've finally walked to the end of the path.

The time is near at hand, a fact you must accept.
Time stands still for no man not even for the rich.
So sorry we're so humourless, it's just the way we are.
You laugh but I don't get the joke, we walk but don't get far.

Maybe there is hope in the dawning of the day.
When no rules define survival, when the earth starts to decay.
It's you who face the holocaust. It's you who cast the vote.
The sad part of your future is it lacks an antidote.

The line-up had altered by the time of Arise!, partially notable for being the first recording by a non-American band on Alternative Tentacles. It's not for the faint-hearted.

FEAR OF GOD

You say that you hear voices, I presume that is correct?
And you say that all the bad boys end their wicked days in hell?
Well if it wasn't for the collar that you wear around your neck
You'd be seeing life quite differently, inside a padded cell!

The fear of God

Am I to understand you, when you say I'll be forgiven?
I give you all my money, well that's blackmail don't you see?
And the ones who give the most are guaranteed a place in heaven
Where they can watch the burning souls below and rub their hands with glee!

The fear of God

Your priorities Are wrong
Your faith Is blind
Crush the weak Uphold the strong
Burn the brains Of mankind

The money spent on churches could appease the starving poor
To justify injustice you must misinterpret Christ!
You lock your wealth away at night behind a bolted door.
The fear of god? You hypocrite! Open up your eyes

Soon after the band moved again, to Bath and did more hard drugs. One more album, Monolith followed in 1987, on Heavy Metal Records. The poor reception spelled the end of their recording career (save for the Right To Ride demo later that year).

Guitarist Stig and drummer Spider subsequently formed Zygote and then Muckspreader, while singer The Baron went on to operate a sword-making business on the Isle of Skye.

Stig and The Baron reformed the band in 2008 with Roy Mayorga (drums, percussion, keyboards)

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Amebix - Who's The Enemy Amebix - Winter Amebix - No Sanctuary Amebix - Arise!  
Who's The Enemy
(7", 1982)
Winter (7", 1983) No Sanctuary
(12", 1983)
Arise! (LP, 1985)  

Extraneous Releases

Amebix - V Zivo - Live in Ljubljana, Sloveni Amebix - The Power Remains Amebix - Beginning Of The End Amebix - No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings  
V Zivo - Live in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Tape, 1987) The Power Remains (LP, 1993)
Beginning Of The End (CD, 1998) No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings (LP+7"/CD, 2008)  
         

Demos

       
Amebix - Demo        
Demo Tape (1979)        

Bootlegs

Make Some        
Make Some Fucking Noise (LP/CD, 1997)        

Various Artists

Bullshit Detector UK LP 1981 (Crass): University Challenged

Symphonies For The Disaffected UK Tape 1985 (Beer Belly Tapes): Arise / Darkest Hour

Babylon: Bleibt Fahren Germany LP 1985 (Babylon Bleibt Fahren): Largactyl

Anti-State: Anarcho Punk Compilation Vol. 2 UK CD 2005 (Overground): Axeman

Links

Official Amebix Portal

MySpace page

Wikipedia page

A VERY, VERY NICE Amebix page

Here's the Amebix story as told by Rob (The Baron) on the Alternative Tentacles

 

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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