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Akral Necrosis - The Greater Absence - 95%

Edmund Sackbauer, October 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Loud Rage Music

Romanian black metal masters Akral Necrosis are back with their third full length titled “The Greater Absence”, once again released by Romanian’s finest label Loud Rage Music. I have absolutely enjoyed their 2016 effort “Underlight” and on their newest output these lads took everything which made the prior one so great and kicked everything up a notch. With an astonishing 65 minutes playing time this album is a huge statement, ending up being not only one of the best of 2020 but a great representation of the underrated Romanian black metal scene.

Akral Necrosis are delivering ten sinuous and scintillating tracks of classic Black Metal sound and fury, heavy in both atmosphere and melody, which on the one hand hearken back all the way to the early days of the genre, but also bring the fascination of the traditional style to the modern days. You can clearly see that the band members have big respect for the origins of black metal, but they at the same time they are not afraid of injecting fresh ideas into their approach.

The mix of heaving rhythm guitars and spiraling lead melodies, all underpinned by some frantic, almost feverish, drum work and topped off with some brilliantly raw and emotive (not to mention versatile) vocals, makes “The Greater Absence” a fittingly monumental and monolithic slab of raucous blackened rebellion, replete with an aura of immersive atmosphere which gives the track an epic, empowering vibe. Deeply atmospheric, Akral Necrosis have used the black metal basics we’re all familiar with to create emotive music, weaving extensive moods and blackened tapestries with ease. The music here is richly textured with nuance and subtlety, even when things got more aggressive and straight.

While the instrumentation is impressive it is the songwriting department where Akral Necrosis really shine. There are a lot of ups and downs and as a listener you will be going through the motions while consuming this album. Some calmer and melancholic sections interchange with straight-to-the-face tremolo runs, all brought together with a high level of immersion. There is a certain feeling of raising the intensity level from song to song, culminating in the last track and the big epos of this record “Damnatio Memoriae”. If somebody not familiar with the genre is wondering what is so fascinating about black metal this track or the album in its entirety might be a good way to get the point across.

The production is once again fantastic. Very heavy yet somehow also fragile, with a well-balanced mix. Nothing got buried beneath the hefty riffs and drums, with especially the lead harmonies providing some wonderful moments. The cover is simple yet perfectly representing the music. All in all this album is a must-listen for black metal fans and one that will be difficult to top for the band.