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Akantha - Baptism in Physical Analects

Akantha
Baptism in Physical Analects
by Gary Hernandez at 17 July 2019, 11:00 AM

AKANTHA is a Crude Black Metal band — raw, orthodox, back-to-basics, fundamental, old school, pure. They are a duo — Athanasios handles all guitars, including bass, and takes on vocal duties; S. handles drums. They hail from Karditsa, Greece—an area reputedly inhabited since 9000 bce. We all know that there is something about the socio-economic dynamics of Greece that has generated a thriving Stoner Metal scene, or maybe it’s the food and wine. AKANTHA may be a sign, dark and ominous, that Greece’s Black Metal scene is also thriving.

Earlier this year, AKANTHA released their second LP, “Baptism in Physical Analects.” I can’t make out the lyrics, but with titles reflecting philosophical themes and with riffs and drums as a thick and sharp as a briar patch, I don’t think they’re singing about love. It doesn’t take an empath with an advanced history degree to see that AKANTHA is tapping into the deep heritage of their homeland (again, 9000 bce) to express their artistic musings. Much has been said about the band’s kinship with Norwegian Black Metal, as if to lend the band ethos from another’s stature. I’ll tell you right now, this band does not need to borrow someone else’s cred to stand on their own. Much like the depiction on the album cover, they are walking tall through the carnage.

“Baptism in Physical Analects” clocks in at a little under 35 minutes, but each of the six tracks is a complex, multi-form composition which, together, creates a sense that the album is longer than it actually is. Clearly this is the result of sophisticated and mature song writing. It doesn’t take long to realize this isn’t a couple of kids making noise in their mother’s basement; this is a purposefully engineered lo-fi, high-quality treatise of thought balanced with a fist-full of metal.

In my estimation, the track that best demonstrates this band’s abilities is “Catharsis from Katara and Anathema.” The guitar work is both melodic and frenetic (but clean), and the drums are unrelenting and powerful. At over six minutes, there is enough space for both Athanasios and S. to showcase their skills, including a classically heavy attack at mid-point. “Heroic” and “Lethargy” are also excellent, though there really isn’t a track that I could call sub-standard. AKANTHA does its genre proud with “Baptism in Physical Analects.” The band only has two albums under their belt, so it is still early days for them. Looking forward to future releases.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Catharsis from Katara and Anathema
2. The Colossal Crisis of Anax
3. The Monotheistic Pharaoh
4. Heroic
5. Thesis and Antithesis
6. Lethargy 
Lineup:
Athanasios - Guitars, bass, vocals
S. - Drums
Record Label: Hammerheart Records
     


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Edited 18 August 2019
 

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