ACYL - Aftermath

Acyl - Aftermath

10 songs
47:26 minutes
***** ***
M & O


Beware! The letter A occurs far above average in this review. In front of me lies the third album by Parisian based band Acyl who are originally from Algeria. Their name means "authentic", an attribute the band wants to claim for itself. The first two albums were titled The Angelís Sin and Algebra, and the third one, to keep in line with the letter "A", is called Aftermath. Mastermind of the band is vocalist Amine, who also plays the guitar and some traditional instruments.

The Algerians combine rather hefty metal with traditional music, mostly inspired by the Berbers who live in Algeriaís Sahara. Aftermath has turned out to be a concept album. The mask on the cover is an ancient Algerian artefact, and topically the music is about the harsh conditions of living in the desert and all the plagues and wars to happened in this region over the last millenniums. To make the sound as authentic as possible, the band doesnít simply play metal, but add oriental sounding breaks that make for the right mood. From a musical vantage point, the band is fond of groove metal, but they donít shy away from occasionally heavier parts. The vocals are also quite varied. Although they usually adhere to a fierce barking style, there are also numerous growls, spoken word parts and even traditional rai singing. Youíll even find very quiet moments on Aftermath, with Son Of Muhieddine being a truly hypnotic piece. All in all this is a very successful crossover where despite the extreme contrasts, the interaction between powerful metal and beguiling orientalism works astonishingly well. The last two tracks steer the album into a different direction. Equanimity and Pride are two quiet songs, kept very traditional and giving more weight to the Algerian instruments, mostly flutes. At times one might think these are actual prayers.

The combination of oriental music and metal is not new. Orphaned Land from Israel successfully pioneered the genre already twenty years ago, and the Moroccans Nawather did something similar right this year. Acyl may not yet quite reach the level of those two bands, and yet Aftermath is an authentic experience far off the usual mainstream.

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