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Akroasis – Illion

Akroasis
Illion
by Thomas Kumke at 20 February 2022, 11:40 PM

AKROASIS hailing from Switzerland are a melodic Thrash Metal band and they were formed in 2016. “Illion” is their debut full-length album, and it was recorded, mixed, and mastered at the legendary Little Creek Studio in Switzerland by V.O. Pulver (POLTERGEIST). The album has a length of almost 50 minutes. It was released via Swiss label Doc Gator Records which is specialized in Thrash and Heavy Metal.

It has been a while since AKROASIS were formed and, as it happened with many bands, the debut album has been completed already in 2020, but with the pandemic, the release was delayed. Between the completion of the album and the release, AKROASIS had a change on the vocals. Mike Brügger replaced Robin Hermanek and the latter one had the vocal duties on the album. “Illion” is a concept album based on the ancient Greek mythology about the Trojan War as documented in Homer’s “Iliad”.

The album starts with “Ullyses’ Fate”, one of the most important figures of the Trojan War and the Greek mythology who was famous for his travels on the Seas. The song has a quiet start including female spoken words. It transitions then in a mid-tempo song where the verse parts are direct with aggressive guitar riffing and vocals. There is a lot of variation in melodies and rhythm as it comes to the chorus part. The vocals change between harsh vocals including some growls as well as clean vocals. The switch to the clean vocals appears during the choruses and during changes in melodies. The clean vocals take off aggression and dynamics of the track and do not really fit well into the sound. The variations cross genre boundaries including Thrash Metal, Melodic Death, and melodic Metalcore elements. Altogether a rather mixed start to the album.

Master Of Gods” is more Thrash oriented with heavy and dark guitar riffing and the harsh vocals fitting much better to the sound. The lead guitar solo is not overly playful and contributes very well to the track. “Doomed” goes more towards melodic Death Metal with melodic Metalcore elements. It has a powerful start and the lead guitar melodies driving the mid-tempo song forward. The vocals are mostly growls with variations ranging from low to higher pitched growls. The melodies are not straight forward and there is a lot of complexity in the textures. The counterpoint are the melodic clean vocal breaks which take off the momentum of the track. “Human Sacrifice” starts pretty much as a Thrash Metal song with traditional catchy Thrash Metal riffing and the vocals fit very well into that. The chorus parts are again Metalcore inspired including the clean vocals, but here it fits better to the overall sound of the track compared to most other songs on the album.

In the Greek mythology, Patroclus was a friend and wartime companion of Achilles, on the album “Patroclus” is one of the slower songs at a measured tempo dominated by the lead guitars. The riffing and the vocals are dark and doomy. “Watershed” follows the same patterns as most songs on the album: there is an aggressive Thrash Metal inspired start which at some point transitions into clean vocals driven melodic parts. Often those parts do not really fit in well. The vocals on “Watershed” are highly diverse where the growls occupy the whole guttural range. A song like “Watershed” shows a bit the dilemma of AKROASIS and it shows what the album could have been: a good Thrash Metal album, since all the ingredients are there.

Polyphem” is a bit more melodic Death Metal inspired with all the catchiness in the guitar riffing and the melodies. The melodic chorus section fits in quite well despite the clean vocals. The lead guitar solo is one of the highlights on the entire album. “Scylla And Charybdis” fits nicely into the frame of the album with the switching between aggressive parts and melodic parts. The lead guitar solo here is also of a very high quality. “Retrieval” is the fastest track on the album and the highlight on “Illion”. The guitar riffing is powerful, dark, and catchy, the lead guitar melodies transport the gloomy atmosphere very well, and the vocals have lots of aggression. “Retrieval” has been released as lyric video and the YouTube link is given below.

Illion” is a decent debut album. It has a few strengths, but also a few weaknesses. AKROASIS are very ambitioned with the lyrical topic and they deal with that very smartly. Also the technical quality of all instruments including the vocals are of high standard. On the other hand, the composition of the tracks are very complex and often do not work, since too many styles and elements are included. Most evidently, the clean vocals do not work and often break up the songs and their flow. The album is well produced. There will be fans of melodic Thrash Metal and potentially melodic Metalcore who will dig the album, but AKROASIS have left some room for improvement for their next release.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  7
Memorability:  5
Production:  8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ullyses’ Fate
2. Master Of Gods
3. Doomed
4. Human Sacrifice
5. Patroclus
6. Watershed
7. Polyphem
8. Scylla And Charybdis
9. Retrieval
Lineup:
Mike Brügger – Vocals
Christoph Schafer – Guitars
Marcel Knupp ­ Guitars
Gerhard Baeriswyl – Drums
Hänsu Zürrer – Bass
Record Label: Doc Gator Records
     


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