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Akhenaten – The Emerald Tablets of Thoth

The Emerald Tablets of Thoth
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 22 June 2021, 2:42 AM

AKHENATEN is a black/death metal band from Colorado; they formed in 2012. Their latest album, "The Emerald Tablets of Thoth" is their fourth full length album. They have also releases an EP and a compilation.

The band rides that sometimes thin line between death and black metal but have influences of the middle eastern folk variety as well. NILE or MELECHESH is probably what comes to mind the most from that paragraph but AKHENATEN don't sound anything like those bands. I find their sound to be refreshing and exciting, actually. The middle eastern side of their music gives their black metal sound a more ancient and arcane atmospheres.  Those same sounds offsets some of the brutality from their death metal influences and makes it much more grandiose and poetic. There are four instrumentals on the album that bridge the gaps between the metallic carnage. These are flavorful and really earn their places on the album—exceptionally well done and better quality than most other interludes I come across.

"Neferkapta's Tomb" begins with ambient noises that quickly develop into music that, in turn, turns into blackened riffs and death growls. The music here is focused yet adventurous and the song has a great flow to it. The keys add just the right amount of flair to the proceedings while the drums ensure the death metal is never too far away.  There are some killer riffs within the song such as the 4:06 mark: powerful enough to stand on their own but well written enough to push the music forward.

Orchestration starts "Hybrid of the Gods" on a classical and tasteful foot. But while you come for the variety of sounds, you'll stay for the vocals and riffs which settle into an effective cadence that shows the band can play blackened death and still keep it within the confines of their sound. "The Black Land" is an unique song that trades it's time between their more symphonic side and their extreme metal side. The harsh vocals use the backdrop of the orchestral layers as the perfect spring board to launch a deadly attack. This song displays just how well this dichotomy can work with death and black metal without contradicting each other or taking away what the other one brings to the table.

"Priests of the Jackal" is a huge sound with a large scope and the band backs it up with hard hitting riffs, unrelenting drums. In the middle part of the song, the eastern sounds hang in the air for a minute before the band drops the hammer and it is just amazing. This is slick, well done extreme metal album that uses outside influences in bold ways.  Anyone looking for unique metal that doesn’t rely on the same old tropes could do worse by checking out AKHENATEN’s “The Emerald Tablets of Thoth.”

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Neferkapta's Tomb
2. Halls of Amenti
3. Of Emerald and Alchemy
4. A Hybrid of the Gods
5. The Atlantean
6. Cult of Kukulkan
7. The Black Land
8. Tabula Smaragdina
9. Priests of the Jackal
10. Fall of the Living Gods
Jerred Houseman - All Instruments
S. Wyatt Houseman - Vocals
Record Label: Satanath Records


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Edited 05 June 2023

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