AKROMA - Apocalypse [Requiem]

Akroma - Apocalypse [Requiem]

6 songs
40:56 minutes
***** ****


With such a long stylistic description as symphonic progressive black metal, it might be hard for some to figure out what to expect. And just as strange as the genre title is the music on the fourth album by Akroma. Like in the past, they use biblical themes, although they are not a religious band. After the Seven Mortal Sins (Sept, 2006), a son of Adam (Seth, 2009), the Last Supper (La Cène, 2014), it is now time for the Apocalypse (Apocalypse [Requiem]).

The first thing I noticed was that the new album is much shorter than its predecessor which made it to seventy-five minutes. On Apocalypse [Requiem], there are only six tracks, all of them between six and eight minutes long, resulting in a compact yet utterly satisfying forty-minute-long album. Akroma play quite extreme symphonic black metal and are inspired by the pioneers of early Nineties, like Emperor for instance. Since their last album, female vocalist Laura Kimpe has joined the line-up. Her firm charismatic opera voice reminds me of Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium, probably the first metal album with such vocals. The male vocals provided by Alain 'Bob' Germonville are also quite extraordinary. It’s quite the feat to scream so hysterically all the time without ever losing your breath.

The music is incredibly complex and full of pace changes. At times the band is playing at full speed, then they switch back to a gloomier mood, and there are also quite a lot of symphonic excursions. Latin lyrics and organ parts give the music a certain flair of liturgy. The many choir vocals furthermore give the music is rich atmosphere. The guitar riffs help flesh out the music’s intricate structures.

My fascination with Akroma is that their music is on the one hand exceedingly brutal, but on the other hand it is also appealingly playful. The long songs are brimming with ideas, surprising the listener at every corner. The only sore point is the fact that Akroma have been and will remains a pure studio project, mostly because the musicians are living quite far apart from one another. Drummer Dirk Verbeuren who used to play with Soilwork is currently playing with Megadeth and therefore living in the USA. On Apocalypse [Requiem], he is in best company though.

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