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Akolyth – Akolyth

by Gary G. Hernandez at 23 June 2020, 1:45 PM

Some metal music, bands, albums test the limits of their subgenre. Not so with AKOLYTH and their self-titled album which was released May 29, 2020 through Amor Fati Productions — this is straight-up Black Metal, no fusion, no questions, no apologies. I used the plural there, but AKOLYTH (German for acolyte, btw) comprises one member, Sphere (though additional instruments, arrangement, and production are credited to a D).

The album has only four tracks, but as each breaks the nine-minute mark it easily stretches into full-length territory. Sound-wise, we’re talking First Wave Black Metal, with crushing db and lo-fi production (though clearer than you might expect), a hellscape of evil aggression, and vocals stitched together from the demonic screams emanating from that shattered well where the asteroid landed. AKOLYTH are at their best when they break out of the sing-song tremolo and redundant blast beats and lay out simple, raw riffs against an articulated rhythm. Thankfully, this is an attribute of pretty much every track.

I haven’t seen the lyrics sheet, though apparently they are embossed on the inner sleeve of the album, so that’s a cool touch. My guess at the subject matter is ritual shamanistic stuff with references to opening gates and the raising of impenetrable darkness. You know, the kind of stuff you’ll want to intone backwards in Latin in a lonely cabin the middle of the woods.

My favorite tracks are “To Become His Doorway,” “A Work of Ages,” and “The Night, The Fog” in that order. And, yep, that’s three out of four tracks. “What Dwells Between Fractured Worlds” is also quite good but doesn’t have quite the dramatic movements as the others.

From the stark black and white cover rendered with dark iconography to the musical hoofprints harkening FWBM, this is an impressive album—especially given the fact that it is a debut. Black Metal enthusiasts should go out of their way to check this out. For people new to the genre, well, there’s nothing like jumping in on the deep end.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. A Work Of Ages
2. The Night, The Fog
3. What Dwells Between Fractured Worlds
4. To Become His Doorway
Sphere  - All instruments, vocals
Record Label: Amor Fati Productions


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Edited 06 December 2022

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