Gear Rundown: Amenra

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Gear Rundown: Amenra

Amenra Feature
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Amenra are reigning royalty amongst post metal, sludge, doom, hardcore and metal communities.

Hailing from Kortrijk, Belgium, the band was formed in the early 90s, the quintet currently consists of Mathieu Vandekerckhove (also of Absent in Body) and Lennart Bossu (also of Oathbreaker) on guitar, and new addition Tim De Gieter (also of Doodseskader) on bass.

Their hypnotic riffs and arrangements meld metal and ambience into once, creating a heaviness that needs to be felt to be believed. The two guitarists share some similarities in their rigs, though stay in their own lanes playing wise, while Tim holds down the bottom end.

Read up on all the latest features and columns here.

Lennart Bossu

1988 Les Paul Showcase

Lennart’s main guitar for a long time has been an odd one: a 1988 Les Paul Showcase. The Showcase was available as both a Standard and Custom model, both originally being produced with EMG pickups. Lennart has swapped the EMGs for Gibson 500T and 490R humbuckers in the bridge and neck respectively. 

1988 Les Paul Showcase

The Showcase Standard is a combination between a Les Paul Standard and a Custom, featuring a Silverburst finish (often reserved for Customs), as well as an ebony fretboard and block inlays.

1996 Les Paul Custom

Lennart also has a 1996 Les Paul Custom, again finished in ebony, that makes an appearance from time to time. He refers to this as his ‘number one’, though for that reason it doesn’t tour or travel with him.

GCI Deconstructivist

Bought in 2012, this is a solid body electric built by God City Instruments, the guitar company of Converge’s Kurt Ballou. The Deconstructivist features a slightly offset body, and a single humbucker in the bridge position makes for a simply laid-out electric.

The Deconstructivist was used in Lennart’s other band Oathbreaker, but as they’ve become less active, he’s tuned it to B and used it for Amenra. The maple body is bright but heavy.

GCI Deconstructivist

70s Ampeg V4

This is another unique piece, and something that Lennart and Mathieu both have an allegiance to. Ampeg are widely known for their bass amplifiers, but these unique V4 feature a distortion and reverb control, for a better playing experience with guitar. Lennart runs this amp clean, its headroom and bottom end extension providing a great palette for pedals.

Providence Stampede Distortion SDT 1

The Providence Stampede is a bit of a secret weapon distortion, Lennart having one of the earlier models. The power supply is hardwired, and later issues did away with this. It’s a simple layout, with Gain, Output and high and low-band EQ.

Mathieu Vandekerckhove

Les Paul Studio

Mathieu is most associated with a black Les Paul Studio that he bought at 16 years old, and played until quite recently. It’s understood that this guitar has had a headstock break, the metal hardware deteriorated from playing, and has been subsequently retired.

Les Paul Custom

More recently, Mathieu has played a Les Paul Custom live, and it’s understood he purchased this in 2018, though the year of the guitar itself isn’t widely known. The Les Paul Custom compliments Lennart’s Showcase, the brightness of the ebony fretboard adding articulation to Mathieu’s otherwise ambience, spacious riffs.

Les Paul Custom


Adding to the ambience, Mathieu often uses an eBow while Lennart handles chords. The eBow, coupled with reverbs, delays and distortion, creates a violin-like sustain on the guitar, creating soundscapes and sound design across Amenra’s arrangements.

ProCo Rat 2 & Turbo Rat

No stranger to distortion either, Mathieu has used combinations of Rat distortion pedals for a long time. Toggling between the Turbo Rat and Rat 2, the uniquely gritty, mid-forward grunge of the Rat makes it one of the most famous distortion of all time.

The Turbo Rat and Rat 2 vary by the clipping diodes used to produce the distortion, but it’s generally understood that a Turbo Rat has more gain as well as a brighter sound. Vintage Rats harness the (now famous) LM308N chip.

Marshall JCM800 2203, Quilter & Fender Twin Reverb, 70s Ampeg V4

In conjunction with his Rat distortion, Mathieu uses the same 70s Ampeg V4, as well as coupling it with a JCM800 2203 to round out his distortion sounds, and can be seen live with a Fender Twin Reverb and Quilter amp for clean sounds. Lennart has spoken to the Quilter amps in interviews, saying they operate as a backup here and there, but it’s unclear whether all amps are on all the time. The Quilter amplifier is a powerful but small format solution for touring.

Tim De Gieter

Tim De Gieter came on board while producing the band’s 2021 record De Doorn. He’s a producer and also plays bass for Doodseskader (“Death Squad” in English).

Gibson Thunderbird

Seen here with a Gibson Thunderbird, the Thunderbird is the bass version of Gibson’s Firebird. Featuring an offset, rounded body and dual ‘T-Bird’ pickups, the Thunderbird is a roaring, balanced bass that has a neck-through design for increased sustain. 

Nile Guitars Novenus

Most recently, Tim has played a Novenus bass from Nile Guitars. Nile is an Italian manufacturer, and the Novenus is a four-string bass with a maple neck and fretboard. It has a slightly offset design, complimented by a multi-scale fretboard. Nile guitars are all fully customisable!

You can see the Novenus clear in this video below:

Learn more about God City Instruments.