According to the press release for their album “Monolith,” “Amebix formed in 1978 as the band with no name, living and playing in the South Devon area.” This description then goes on to describe the effect that this early period had on the band, particularly that Martin (original drummer) “ended up in various mental institutions as a result of that time.”
Following various changes to their early line-up, the band that came to Heavy Metal Records consisted of: Spider (Drums), Stig (Guitar and Backing Vocals) and The Baron (Bass and Backing Vocals.) Having previously released their debut LP “Arise,” the band showed a lot of promise but, in their own words, “weren’t satisfied with the way the Company [Alternative Tentacles, Record Label] had handled the album.”
Amebix then recorded the stunning “Monolith,” and were soon snapped up by Heavy Metal Records, releasing the album in 1987, making an enormous contribution to the rise of Thrash and Hardcore music, in particular helping to make Britain serious contenders in what had before been an almost all-American race.
Their live shows during this period were a sight to behold: one reviewer from the time, Cecil Polanski, describes his incredulity at their setup, including flashbombs, dry ice and their own stage set, which is all very well and good except that the gig was at The Mermaid in Birmingham: Amebix obviously had the showmanship to become enormous, showing a truly commendable dedication to putting on a good show for their fans.
However, as is often the case, Amebix unfortunately didn’t see the success they deserved at first: they had broken up before getting to be truly appreciated. Bands such as Sepultura, Neurosis and Deviated Instinct were all fans, however, and Monolith now gets the attention it deserves as a seminal work in the progression of Heavy Metal music. In fact, this belated attention helped Amebix to reform briefly, even recording new material. This unfortunately only lasted until 2012, and the band are now only a fond memory, but “Monolith” remains just as relevant as ever.