Review: Akasha – Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity 8.5

  • Akasha
  • Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity
  • Black metal/Blackened doom metal
  • California, USA
  • 2019
  • 8.5/10

Bandcamp

Akasha has come out swinging with a debut LP of high quality. As a solo project the path of gaining experience through EP’s and splits was in important step to developing this full sound and releases a n LP. It’s very diverse, pushing the limits of what can be done with old thrash inspired black metal to create a newer sound, more spaced out. There’s also the trending presence sharper sounds heard on records like Hatred Softly Spoken by Chamber and A New Kind Of Horror by Anaal NathrakhVocally it is quite similar too with variations on growls and shrieks that go well with the composition and aren’t afraid to use vocal techniques in post like overlapping or delay. It is used effectively for the most part but the vocals aren’t always needed in sections where the riffs are absolutely kicking ass on their own.

The strong point for me is the guitar work, it uses a lot of higher solos and cleaner doomier riffs to break up the crazy speed. The guitar feels like it directs the music really well, initiating a lot of great build ups and transitions. There’s an overlaying sense of doom about the whole thing thanks perhaps to the choice of more atmospheric licks over shredding. They aren’t always trying to be brutal or the most cult, they have restraint and a good sense of long form rhythm you’d typically find in a stoner doom band. It calls to mind The Chasm, a band I really enjoy and who share similar themes of trans-dimensional beings and cosmic creatures. It has that esoteric occult vibe to it, it’s kvlt done right and with measure. It’s also about story telling, something that can really add a level of sophistication to a record no matter the genre. This Lovecraftian cosmic horror type imagery always goes well with black metal and doom metal. I’ll never get sick of it, and it’s exactly the vibe you get from the album cover by Wrest. Dark, mystical and brutal. Old school too, which is definitely represented with Akasha‘s penchant for the summoning the thrash origins of black metal for their heavier moments.

 

The production sounds raw which makes it feel more esoteric but it doesn’t sacrifice quality to do it for pretension sake – it’s what best suits the fuzzy and sharp sounds they play around with. The technical work of everything still has clarity. Definitely some good work from Grey Matter Productions. I can’t imagine this record sounding any other way. It’s earnestly dark music to nod my head to and listen for the changes and transitions with interest.  These extra additions to the sound really put it a part from the typical modern black metal release, which lets be honest, the majority is pretty boring this many decades in – still regurgitating the same handful of sounds from the pioneers of music “waves”. So it’s good to have more bands now that highlight what’s interesting with black metal and find other means to fill where the tired tropes would usually go. Akasha have a solid sense of direction and initiative.

Stick around for the bonus track Moon As Blood because it’s great and showcases a different side of the band with cleaner vocals and calmer non cleaner instruments. I don’t know how this is a bonus track and not closer to the front. It leans more into that progressive black metal sound they often teeter on the edge of.

Reminder, this is a debut LP. This sounds like a great new record from an old band. Definitely curious about the next record.

 

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