Label : Code666/Aural Music
Review by Luisa Mercier
After a few years from the acclaimed debut “Anthology II”, French avantgarde metal-band Akphaezya is back with a new and interesting full-length. The structure of “Anthology IV” is that of an Ancient Greece tragedy with Prologue, the following plot and an Epilogue.
Even most of the title are Ancient Greek words, chosen among the most important values and concepts that Greeks used to hold dear. On a musical side note, I have to say that the previous record was very prog and jazzy oriented, while this one is way heavier and maybe more omogenuous.
Above all, shine the vocals of Nehl Aelin (also keyboards player), the talented singer who once again showcases all her versatility. “Prologue” opens “Anthology IV” and it is a short intro where creepy vocals mingle with electronics. Electronica is indeed the sound prominent in the intro of “Slow Vertigo” where heavy riff mix with more prog moments and Nehl uses her low register. There are some beautiful keyboards parts and melodic lines which won’t let your attention be distracted. Even though varied, the song is not completely crazy. It is a sign of the maturity this band has reached. The following “Sophrosune” (meaning “ wisdom”) has a piano intro that brings to a death metal part with growls (always courtesy of Nehl). It is a song that alternates quiet moment to much more violent ones and it is absolutely different from what they have composed before.
These two songs compose the first Act called “Spring”.“Summer” is opened by “Utopia”, a song that resembles a lot what can be found in “Anthology II”. Nehl uses his higher register, sounding childish at times. And you keep wondering if it always is the same singer. She has such an amazing range! “Hubris” was a sin that heroes of the myths committed when they were too much proud and somehow offended the gods. The song is slow, doomish and quite gloomy. The use of the organ enhances the feeling til around half of the song when the usual jazz/prog moment kicks in. It becomes a sweet acoustic ballad in the end, before turning again to the doomish sound of the beginning. A piano interlude, “Transe H. L.2”, separates the first half from the second. “Genesis” opens “Autumn”, and it is quite heavy track, maybe the heavier on the record. Nehl‘s vocals sound particularly dramatic on this one.
Second track of the third Act is “Dystopia”, a sweet acoustic ballad, closed by a folk part. “Winter” is the last Act of the play. “Nemesis” is another fast, heavy track, the one chosen as single. You will also find a video which sums up the plot of the tragedy.
Longest track on the album is “Harsch Verdict”, a song which mixes several genres: prog, folk, extreme metal. Varied, but coherent, it is another evidence of the great talent of this band. In the end, “Epilogue” comes and it is very similar to the “Prologue”: female vocals, electronics and creepy atmosphere. Akphaezya is going to become a cult band in the genre and has the great advantage of not being completely schizophrenic as other avantgarde bands, so it can be approached by a bigger audience. Must buy!
Rating – 85/100
- Πρόλογος / Prologos
- Scene I : A slow vertigo…
- Scene II : Σωφροσύνη / Sophrosyne
- Scene I : Utopia
- Scene II : Υβρις / Húbris
- Trance H.L. 2
- Scene I : Genesis
- Scene II : Dystopia
- Scene I : Nemesis
- Scene II : …The harsh verdict
- Επιλογος / Epilogos
- Nehl Aëlin – Vocals / Piano, accordion
- Stephan H. – Guitar, concept
- Stephane B – Bass
- Loic Moussaoui – Drums