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Akphaezya - Anthology IV (a real masterpiece) - 98%

frozen_me, March 8th, 2012

After listening to the new album by Akphaezya, I believe the term avant-garde metal pales in comparison to what these guys (and girl) have created. Not only do they blend jazz, folk, gothic, stoner etc. into a tasteful sound, but they also add a lively personality to their songs with a cast of different characters and a wide range of emotions. On top of that, the whole album is an ancient Greek theater play (don’t be mistaken, it’s a totally fresh plot created by Stephan, the guitarist), so most of the songs have Greek titles and also Nehl sings some famous ancient Greek quotes!

The first song is the prologue to the album, a small introduction to the story that quickly unfolds when A Slow Vertigo kicks in. The song starts with electro elements that quickly put the listener into a trance. Nehl’s superb voice shifts from low to high and from rough to mellow in a couple of verses where the song takes a more ballady turn with piano, cello, and accordion, evolving into a blast. Sophrosune (Temperance) has lots of gothic dark elements with an Opeth atmosphere and the singer shifts from fragile ethereal vocals to powerful growls. It’s quite impressive to know that all these voices come from one single girl. Next is Utopia, a celebrating song with lots of folk and gypsy elements. As in every Akphaezya song, the music takes different turns, adding more to the diversity of the band!. Hubris is an aggressive, violent theme wrapped in playful jazz music, starting off with church organ and quickly unravels its true nature. The song ends and there is a certain need for some calm, so comes Trance HL, a piano instrumental which is quite appropriate after the intense Hubris.

Genesis has lots of stoner and doom elements as Nehl’s voice becomes rougher and lower and the guitar riffs take domination over everything else. Dystopia is the ballad of the album with very emotional passages. Piano and cello are greatly noticeable throughout the song along with some folk surprises. Nemesis is the first single and video from Akphaezya, a great cartoon masterpiece telling the whole story which you can check out here. The last full song, The Harsh Verdict, is a metal Mastodon-ian song with flamenco twists, lots of blasts, and bursts of energy and emotion, a perfect ending for a very versatile and intense album. Epilogue closes the chapter and offers a link to their previous one, Anthology 2.

Words are not enough to describe the music of this band. A masterpiece full of sounds and tastes that will blow out your mind. If you are open-minded and like good music, then you’ll surely love Akphaezya. The album is mastered by Brian Gardner (Down, Lamb of God, Queen, Suicidal Tendencies, Prince, Queen of the Stone Age, etc.) which is a guarantee for top notch production. Highly recommended for fans of Diablo Swing Orchestra, UneXpect, System of a Down, Mastodon, Ephel Duath, Atrox, The Gathering, Stolen Babies etc.