Amebix, now recognized as one of the most influential heavy bands ever, was born in England during the summer of 1978. Originally trolling their minds and coming up with the thought provoking moniker the Band With No Name, the group of dirty, broke punks recorded a trashy six-song demo and managed to sell a meager four copies of it. Opting for the name Amebix, the band released a track from the demo called "University Challenged" on the first edition of the obscure compilation series Bullshit Detector.
Life was chaotic from start to finish for Amebix, because they were really living the lifestyle that their lyrics and image portrayed. Guitar player Stig writes on the gatefold of the posthumous album of live and studio recordings The Power Remains that "none of us signed off the dole in all the years we were together." Living in squats (abandoned buildings) and other unstable accommodations, eating out of the garbage, scamming and hacking out a living by any means possible, it's amazing that the band were able to amass equipment and practice on a somewhat regular enough basis to last for nine full years. However, through all of the strife and chaos, the band were astoundingly prolific, recording enough material (including bootlegs and posthumous releases) for seven full-length albums, two 7" records, two compilation tracks, and the previously mentioned Band With No Name demo in that period of time.
Prior to 1983, the band's lineup changed quite a bit. In one humorous incident, shortly after the release of the Bullshit Detector compilation, the band added a fellow named Martin to their roster in the drummer role. One of the fringe benefits of Martin's being in the band was that he invited the whole group to come live with him in a manor house in Dartmoor. Unfortunately, the owners of the house (Martin's parents, who were away at the time) weren't aware that Martin had extended this kind offer to the band. Upon returning home, the horrified parents booted Amebix into the street and sent Martin away to an institution to be "corrected."
The Baron and Stig, the core of the band, added synthesizer player Norman to the mix and moved to Bristol in 1981. By 1983 they had acquired a stable drummer named Virus, who left the band Disorder to join Amebix. 1983 saw the release of the Who's the Enemy EP, the Winter 7", and the first LP No Sanctuary on Spiderleg Records. Norman appeared as the synth player on the two 7" records, but was replaced by a fill-in player on the full-length album. After a brief tour, the band returned to England and in 1984 signed on a new synthesizer player named George. With George filling the synthesizer position for the remainder of the band's existence, the band hit the road again for a short tour, and upon their return kicked Virus out of the drummer's chair.
The final band lineup was secured in 1985 when drummer Spider joined the group. After disputes with Spiderleg, the band had gotten a deal with Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra's label Alternative Tentacles just prior to the drummer Spider's arrival on the scene. Arise hit the stores with the Alternative Tentacles imprint in 1985. Alternative Tentacles didn't mesh with the band either, and they left the label after the release of Arise. In 1987, the masterpiece album Monolith was released just months prior to the breakup of the band.
During and since the actual life of Amebix, a number of bootlegs and retrospective have come to the surface. Although both the official and unofficial albums are completely obscure among the mainstream culture, Amebix have been tremendously influential in the hardcore, crust punk, and metal underground scenes. Artists as divergent as Sepultura, Neurosis, and Deviated Instinct pay homage to these original masters of the blending of metal, punk rock squatter lifestyle and political fury into a droning, pounding, ballistic crunch. ~ Paul Kott