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'.

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.

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.

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

Subsequent studio albums: Monolith (1987), Sonic Mass (2011).

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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