Album: We Have Come for Your Parents
Reason Featured: #44 Album for NME’s Top Fifty Albums of 2000,
My Favorite Songs: Under the Robe, Dead on the Bible, The Waiting 18
Their Grades: Allmusic (3/5)
My Grade: 70%
Henry Rollins censored Amen on his TV show. They were the only band to ever receive this treatment from the Black Flag frontman and it was due to them making death threats toward Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz as Operation Iraqi Freedom was hitting its stride. I’m no fan of unjust wars or Dick Cheney either but to do something like that reveals a level of instability and violence which I can’t really hang with. Punk is pissed-off, especially of the hardcore variety, but fighting fire with fire doesn’t really work for anyone. On We Have Come for Your Parents, Amen’s aggression is both their greatest strength and tragic flaw.
Maybe the reason I’ve never taken to this kind of madcap music is because I’ve never felt as angry as its instrumentation and lyrics. Amen never ventures into the blackout noise and chaos which can be the genre’s ultimate downfall. There’s still a sense of melody behind all the vitriol which kept me from writing it off as just another set of angry guys who know how to distort their voices and Fenders to say “fuck you” in a million different ways. But they still don’t seem to have very much intelligence beyond their fury. If there is some cleverness here, it’s of the sociopathic variety. Punk, at its best, is a release, alternately fun, political and clarifying. But their advice to burn churches and “kill with good intentions” betrays they haven’t really been seeking solutions so much as adding to the problems which plague this planet.
Amen is talented, in their own way. There are some engaging and murderous hooks here. “The Waiting 18,” in particular, is a track to be respected. But their frontman is named Casey Chaos and their record is called We Have Come for Your Parents, for God’s sake. So the thought of sitting across from any of these guys at a bar would terrify and frustrate me more than anything else. The same goes for listening to their record.