Actually, the gap between, say, Plato or Nietzsche and the average human is greater than the gap between that chimpanzee and the average human. The realm of the real spirit, the true artist, the saint, the philosopher, is rarely achieved. (Louis Mackey)
I’ve been asking myself – who is reaching the “realm of the real spirit” in our present tense? That’s mainly because I still have no clue about my mission towards the universe. I’m still young but I feel that my soul is crumbling because I’ve managed to divide myself in a wide range of tasks and all of them require a different approach. At some point you realise you have to choose something in order to really stand out and then you feel the need to fully analyse every “set” of people according to their mission.
So, firstly, I thought about scientists and philosophers. Then I started to think that the real heroes are people such as Philippe Petit. I had recently seen the documentary “Man on Wire” and that completely crushed me in a very peculiar way. That reassured myself that real heroes determine their path… heroes are self-made souls. Heroes are honest and humble people that sacrifice everything for what they believe. So, the “do-it-yourself” kind of philosophy is key here. On the other hand, the “average human” behave like a sheep in a herd.
The concept of “hero” must the well interpreted. I don’t mean someone that is be praised arbitrarily. A hero is not a hero because he is praised. My hero is someone that, because of his extraordinary actions, is to be praised. It’s really important to give strength to the valuable things that surrounds us. I listen to many complaints coming from people but I rarely see them actually trying to be carried away by pleasure. When you encounter something valuable, YOU SHOULD DISSEMINATE IT! It’s your duty. It’s a real lack of responsibility when people are passive. We must believe that everyone is doing their best and if we want to perpetuate quality, we must emphasize it. Let me introduce a parenthesis here. It’s also important to have a negative approach towards knowledge just like Socrates. Negativity leads to progress. However, there may be something more universal than negativity – honesty. Socrates’ honesty contains his negativity. He never wanted to convey that he knew something at all. But he fought against the false self-appointed heroes that were taken as wise. Honesty acts like a kind of sieve that might lead to truth. Less is more, and in order to suppress extreme variety, negativity needs its share.
Anyway, let me now venture to someone in particular. If someone in this world should be praised and worth to mention is the belgian Colin H. Van Eeckhout (CHVE). Even though I want to focus my attention on his genius I must first give a very unfair and short reference on what he has been up to. He is one the founding members of the band Amenra and he is the vital source of energy of the Church of Ra – a nucleus of bands from Gent (BE) that share the philosophy of its core (Amenra). What’s special about all this? Well, my point here is that the enlightened mind of CHVE reflects one of most sublime and honest spirits of today.
To keep this interesting and less formal, I would start to let you know about my experience with Amenra. The first time I saw the band live, I knew little about them. I’ve only listened to the “Mass IIII” album and the instrumental itself was very provocative. There’s a strange thing about the flow of their tracks. Technically, it doesn’t push many barriers. But they know how to get you there. The repetition, the way they force you to wait for another pounding passage, the dichotomy between the brutal force and a spiritual slow motion… Amenra gives me shivers. Even the way Mathieu Vandekerckhove strums his guitar, just that tiny little aspect is worth some words. That constant up and down strum feels like a mechanical train and is one of the most important rhythmic aspects of the band alongside with the drum kick. (“Am Kreuz” mid part or the beginning of “Razoreater” are a good examples of that strumming. It creates a beautiful accentuation). And the way he does that while he faces the crowd… and then the looks down… Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that Amenra are theatrical. I believe they are being driven by a deep spiritual force at that moment. And it’s really important to analyse how important that scenic aspect is. Of course that the first aspect that assaults you is the fact that CHVE turns his back to the crowd most of the time; the way he kneels down; and his back tattoo. Some people say his voice is hysterical. I think that’s an inappropriate word but he definitely shouts with his heart on his throat. It’s the more sincere and heart felt voice I’ve ever heard. That’s the crucial aspect about this individual – honesty. Honestly aching, honestly leading to salvation. He’s there to suffer with you, to put his hand over your shoulder and eventually to bend that negative moment into something positive. “From Shadow to Light”. At the end of my first Amenra live show I asked CHVE naively if he was a sufferer. And he gently said that he’s blessed because he could dodge all the obstacles of life. At that time, I didn’t knew so much about him and I was expecting someone hopeless and frustrated. Amenra is negative but at the end of their shows the pain collapses and they recover their composure. Pain heals. And they thank life and they praise life. It’s pure beauty.
Being able to see this band live for the second time carried even more emotions. This time, I already knew what they were all about and I hoped for that night that anticipated Easter very eagerly. I had been mentally preparing myself for that show. Amenra truly changes your life. It haunts you, but it blesses you. I was hoping to clean myself. It was magical. Better than the first time, even though CHVE said that “we sucked” due to some minor technical problems with his microphone. The final plunge from the last track (“Silver Needle. Golden Nail.”) was brutal. Physically brutal, mentally crushing. Perfection was achieved at that final moment.
There’s a lot left to describe and to analyse but in this article I don’t pretend to make a full review about Amenra. I want to point out that Amenra is one of the most powerful vehicles of today. And that’s mainly because of a visionary man. A man of pure honesty that through darkness lead us into the blazing light. Thank you CHVE.
it’s time to trade those tears for scars. It’s time to make your life worthwhile.
sacred stars leave sacred scars. and you’d scar me deeper than you could ever wish for.
nail my torn flesh to the cross. thrust a spear deep in my side. I carried my cross long enough. I wear my love like a crown of thorns. you carried your cross long enough. I wrote you a bible in blood. with my bleeding heart on the cover. and a teardrop on every page. these wounds will always remember you. (excerpts from the lyrics)