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An ambitious project. - 87%

Kritik, April 28th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2009, 4CD, Independent

Senmuth is becoming more and more known for his high versatility and quantity of work in the musical scene. This Russian multi-instrumentalist has done a tremendous amount of releases in the past 11 years. "Akhet Mery Ra" is his most ambitious project before March 2015, clocking at 3h30 of Egyptian infused music. The most remarkable aspect of this project is the sheer quality that is almost always present in the entire release. For a more concise and clear review, I will describe each part separately.

The beginning of disc 1 possesses a small introduction that transits to the first song of the album. This first song is already a surprise because one can describe it as a speed metal song with some symphonic arrangements. After this wall of sounds, we hear a very good Egyptian folk song that features very good female chants. There is also some EBM influence mix in "Osiris/Orion" that contributes to make this first part of the release very interesting. The best song of this CD, " Merytneith" , was also the single choice for the album. This song may be the best song Senmuth has written that include vocals. Think the opera song from the movie "The fifth element" mixed with metal and folk passages of the greatest kind and you will start to know what this song is. The rest of the CD serves to close this part of the album and introduce the next part of the release.

The second disc starts again with a small introduction before transitioning with a pagan death metal song. Instead of a more Nordic folk element, it is indeed an Egyptian atmosphere that the song is based upon. Another great experiment on this CD that is worth a mention is "Heb-Sed of the Earliest Times" that sounds like an instrumental grunge rock song with the usual Egyptian feel present in the entire release. There is also a song that builds many little climaxes named "Lost Sekhemkhet" made of many impressive symphonic arrangements. The bass instrument is also used much in " Ritual Dances of the Priestesses of Hathor" in an impressive manner again. The rest of the CD is again a conclusion to the first half of the release and is quite relaxing.

The third disc is where the release is less interesting. Senmuth tries on this CD to create a more oppressive atmosphere. There lies my main complaint about this CD; he doesn't create an atmosphere that sticks with you while listening to it. Senmuth has done many other releases based on atmosphere and this CD just doesn't seem to attain the high quality that he normally delivers. Nonetheless, this third part isn't boring at all; the artist still delivers something different from the other CDs and he still manages to give an interesting atmosphere. In my opinion, it's only because of this CD that this album isn't excellent for the fact that Senmuth can do better.

We arrive at last at the final part of this release. Here, Senmuth tries another atmosphere that I could qualify as eerie and psychedelic. This time it actually works and finishes that great release on a high note. The first song is a weird mix between gothic, darkwave and EBM, but gives the kind of atmosphere that Senmuth is able to pull off. The artist continues to give that atmosphere for the next couple of songs while varying the styles to keep things fresh. There is a transition between the seventh and eighth songs on this CD that serves to link this part to the conclusion of the entire release. This conclusion is just superb. It's long enough for an album of this amplitude and possesses enough different harmonies to let us dream about this Egyptian age. The first of three songs that makes up the conclusion is a perfect new age song complete with female chants, slow build up and guitar of the greatest kind. The second song is a slow new age ballad with another guest singer and very great flute passages. The choice of the last song of the album is strange but at the same time can make sense depending on the angle that you try to understand it from. The song serves as an end of an epoch, but also the beginning of another. My interpretation of this is the fact that the Egyptian empire has many other ages than the four told in this release and so, the story continues afterwards.

On a production level, all of the four CDs possess the great production of mister Senmuth that is always very precise and not the typical production of the major labels. Just try to put his songs in a sound test program, and you will see that the wavelengths are varying depending on if it's a heavy song or a ballad. Even within one song, the difference of intensity of the wavelength can be quite high. While the major labels use a different strategy that also works, I'm just always happy to see someone coming with a different approach that's working as much as these major labels.

In conclusion, even without the least interesting part of this release, we have 2h45 of great music while the entire release works as a whole and each part has its own beginning and end. The final result is an album that is very close to excellence. I recommend this album because of the amplitude of the release and the sheer amount of quality put into it. I recommend this release for fans of Egyptian infused music and ambitious projects that still manage to feel complete.