Genre: Avant-garde Metal Progressive Metal
Label: Aural Music Code 666 Records
After their impressive debut “Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity” in 2008, Akphaezya return with their second album entitled “Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak” released by Code666 on March 2012. The progressive, avant-garde, experimental band from France states on the booklet: “Αυτός ο δίσκος είναι αφιερωμένος στους Έλληνες του χθές, του σήμερα και του αύριο (translation: This album is dedicated to Greeks of yesterday, today and tomorrow)”. The album is written like a classic Greek theater play and the whole concept and style of the artwork is clearly influenced by classic Greek aesthetic. All these made me expect this work with much anticipation…
Let’s set things straight from the beginning. Akphaezya is a very special and bizarre band, surely not for the average metal fan! They have a unique approach to their music and it’s really very difficult to categorize or even describe them. I would tell their “base” is progressive rock / avant-garde metal mixed with many other genres, but mostly with female-fronted gothic metal and jazz music elements. Compared to their debut, I believe this work is more organized and less chaotic, while the production is definitely improved. Of course the band has still very complex structures in its songs, which sometimes reach to the point of making their music sounding like “random” or improvised! What is interesting though, is that this time every composition is more solid and has its own style; they don’t try to play everything inside each song. There are songs with more gothic rock “ala The Gathering” sound, others with a more experimental bizarre avant-garde mood, other songs with a more melodic soft sound and some with a progressive metal approach. Their charismatic singer Nehl Aëlin (who has also a solo career as pianist, singer, songwriter and composer) has a huge range on her voice and she does an amazing job in this album, singing in various styles. Except for the female vocals, there are also a few brutal male vocals in the most aggressive outbursts of this album. The concept of “Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak” is quite complex too. It is written like a classic Greek theater, but the whole story takes place in an unknown (probably fantastic) world and is of undefined time… There are 11 tracks in the album that is divided into 4 acts, one for each epoch (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) with a total duration of 52 minutes. Most of the songs have Greek titles, but the band uses English lyrics, except for a few famous ancient Greek quotes here and there…
Akphaezya chose to play music that is quite difficult for the listener to fully comprehend. But if you give them the chance and listen to “Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak” several times, you will be more than rewarded! The production is excellent, the vocals and the musicianship more than professional and their melodies very different and unusual. Furthermore it comes in a strictly limited edition of 999 copies handmade oversized digisleeve-cd with double internal folder, complete story-play booklet and carton wallet for the cd, all with excellent illustrations! They have also released the amazing video for the song “Nemesis”. Check the links for more info and sound samples.