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Akral Necrosis - The Greater Absence Award winner

Akral Necrosis
The Greater Absence
by Chris Hawkins at 24 November 2020, 8:34 PM

AKRAL NECROSIS is a Black Metal band hailing from the cold frontier of Romania, a land perhaps more conducive to hymns of the unlight than any other.  With such a rich history locked in by the natural defensive barrier formed by the Carpathian Mountains, nocturnal supremacy courses through their veins enriching their bloodstream with the storied legacy of Vlad Tepes, a national hero in those parts.  Formed back in ’06, the band have previously released two full-length prior to their current release, “The Greater Absence”.

Silent Altar” kickstarts the album laying a varied, intriguing initial blueprint.  While at first one may be tempted to write this off as standard fare for the genre, a closer listen reveals quite a bit of variation as well as depth.  Rooted in brutality with the rampant, automatic fire of double bass, there is extant melody interjected which makes for an experience that soon envelopes the listener in the cold embrace of its chilling atmosphere.

What really adds to the impact of the sound is a varied approach in the riff department.  For example, in the second track, “Oldd Mirror,” there is an unholy trinity of influences on display from melodically-tinged Black Metal in the tradition of EMPEROR mixed with a bit of DISSECTION, brutal old school Death Metal in the form of classic MORBID ANGEL replete with suffocating abrasive palm mutes and the precision attack of Thrash legends like SODOM and KREATOR.  In short, it’s a riff fest, an expose of how the different branches of the Extreme Metal tree are interconnected.  Furthermore, the harmonies and melodies via the leads are compelling to the point that I feel ashamed for not having heard these guys before!  As a musician, it is inspiring to hear the band incorporate these different styles so seamlessly without sounding like, “here is the Thrash riff followed by the tremolo picking section”.  The point I’m trying to make here is that the variations are all under the umbrella of the AKRAL NECROSIS sound.  No gimmicks.  Honest, refreshing Extreme Metal that is well thought out.

The third track, “Intonation,” continues this promising trend.  Characterized by a more mid-tempo approach, an infectious melody manages to nestle snuggly within the inner ear.  The lead work at the 3:30 mark is short, sweet, yet stunning, nonetheless.  A more traditional Black Metal approach is taken at the end of the song with one of those DARKTHRONE-CELTIC FROST-SATYRICON type of hard-driving, fist-pumping riffs.

The production, while obviously not the budget level of more well-known bands, still effectively conveys the myriad instrumentation.  The guitars are thick when needed for the chunkier riffing and manage not to thin out when switching to the tremolo sections.  Indeed, the lead work via sweeping harmonies and sprawling melodies, is prodigious.  Perhaps what is most impressive is the bass playing, especially as evidenced on the fourth track, “In Nightmare Shades”.  When do bass players get any kind of spotlight within Black Metal?  AKRAL NECROSIS thankfully is unafraid to take risks.  The paradigm has shifted with this track containing a thoroughly out-of-the-box creative approach that soon descends into pure madness.  The band excels by employing varied dynamics, peaks and valleys that keep things interesting without going on tangents or losing sight of the big picture.

AKRAL NECROSIS has truly shocked me.  Their blending of so many different shades creates a soundscape that is vivid, mesmerizing, and hypnotic.  “The Greater Absence” is certainly, without doubt, an overwhelmingly impressive personal introduction to the band.  This is an outfit I will pay close attention to going forward for their blending of such varied elements, top-notch musicianship, and hauntingly animated atmosphere is nothing short of an enthralling experience overall, one I won’t soon forget!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Silent Altar
2. Old Mirror
3. Intonation
4. In Nightmare Shades
5. Man in the Cauldron
6. Third Curse
7. Revamping the Inside
8. Plaguebound
9. I See the Bright Lights
10. Damnatio Memoriae
Lineup:
Gabriel - Guitars
Mishu – Bass
Victor - Guitars
Octav Necrosis – Vocals
Phillip Phillipov – Drums
Record Label: Loud Rage Music
     


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