We Have Come for Your Parents (Virgin)
by Scott Hefflon
When Amen got dropped by Roadrunner almost immediately after their self-titled, Zeppelin-looking debut was released in ’99, many of us were very surprised cuz it was the most real thing Roadrunner had released in a while, and the trend’s gotten worse… Any long-term metal fan who wishes nü metal would drop the “metal” (or off the face of the planet) knows what I’m sayin’.
Still signed to Ross Robinson’s I AM label, yet going through Virgin (best known in the rock world for continuing to release aging groundbreakers like Iggy Pop, Lenny Kravitz, and Smashing Pumpkins), Amen may be the harshest, angriest band mass America gets exposed to. Major labels are good for something after all… But I can’t understand why Virgin’s pushing the punk angle (yeah, like that’ll help sell records these days) when Amen is obviously from a metal background (drummer Larkin used to have a first name, Shannon, and beat the skins in Wrathchild [Wrathchild America for the come-latelies], and while the chorographed hair-swirls of later daze has made both him and me want to distance ourselves from that era, I give ’em total props for their early cover of “Slave to My Dick,” a song my ex-roommate and I drunkenly climbed on stage to “help” “sing” back in ’87 in a bar the size of my living room. That‘s old school.).
While Amen is pretty standard angry rock/metal fare for those immersed in the underground, shit, there are people who haven’t gotten further than Limp Bizkit when the rest of us got the joke and moved on long ago… One real treat is Amen’s imagery, courtesy of singer/screamer Casey Chaos. As Marilyn Manson continues to favor dark, artily inhuman imagery (as in non-threatening), Amen goes straight for the throat: politics. Children with axes and guns, lollipops and dildos, flags, fire and vultures are the images of choice, and you’d have to be pretty dim not to feel a shiver of fear… Unlike the pussy-footing blame-everyone-else policy of so many, Casey openly asks “Why don’t kids kill more often?” In a country that continues a long and tiresome “war” on drugs with little outcry or rally of support (meaning we don’t give a shit, and that the powers that be don’t want or need our consent to declare war on things), not to mention plastering the dangerously open-ended slogan “Just say No” wherever possible, it really is a wonder that more people don’t realize what “outlaw” means (did Kid Rock teach you nothing with that cowboy song? I mean, Tom Robbins wrote of it in Still Life with the Woodpecker and that’s what nabbed me, but until they make it into a movie with Uma and Keanu, I guess no one’ll notice. Oh, maybe that‘s Casey’s answer…). There’s a lot to say no to in this world, and despite all the clamor, drugs are far from the top of the list. Let’s start with an easy one, shall we? Just say no to letting others tell you what you shouldn’t do. Make up your own mind and either pay the price or reap the rewards. The full imact of that mindset is amazing. And it frightens them…