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TRACK LIST: 1. Puppies of War 6:09 2. Where the Water Meets the Sky 8:57 3. Surface 6:59 4. Angel Kiss 6:16 5. Blue Clay 5:30 6. Carry the Rain 9:26 7. Wither and Die 3:50 8. The Plains of Nevermore 3:42 9. The Sum of it All 9:18 10. Black Morning Sun 6:28 LINEUP: David Lidell guitars Jessica Ahman vocals Andre Berntsson guitars Andreas Tiberto keyboards Alexander Bringsoniou bass, stick With: Tony McWilliams drums, percussion
Prolusion. The Swedish band AKRIBI was formed back in 2006, and has honed their craft until 2011, when they issued their debut album "Black Morning Sun". And as many other artists choose to do these days the band opted to release this production themselves rather than signing with a label.
Analysis. A band consisting of six persons, two of whom are guitarists, is a combination that for most will bring progressive metal to mind. Add the fact that the vocalist in question is a woman, and I presume quite a few might think along the lines of a certain Finnish band in terms of what to expect from this Swedish sextet which is partially correct, at least on some levels. Musically we're dealing with a fairly accessible variety of progressive metal on this disc. Challenging, advanced instrumental and compositional features aren't at the heart of the proceedings, and it would be hard to describe this as an experimental effort too. Its fairly advanced in terms of arrangements, but not in a manner that will satisfy those with a desire to encounter the unexpected. A general tendency throughout is the inclusion of ballad-oriented details and sequences, either in a purebred manner as exemplified quite beautifully on The Plains of Nevermore or as a secondary insert used to contrast the main part of the song as on Carry the Rain. Tranquil, calming and almost ambient inserts, sequences and themes, often with a symphonic overlay or backdrop drawing inspirations from those, are a stark contrast to the riff-laden, darker toned and occasionally grimy guitar riffs used in the harder hitting sequences. And while this contrasting effect is rather predictable at times, it is cleverly used throughout, creating a pleasant and fairly often engaging mood and atmosphere. Occasional jazz-oriented details and quirky guitar riff arrangements add an additional level of interest as far as the instrumental part of this package go too, and the band will probably have won over quite a few fans due to the inclusion of such details. But the key feature on this disc is the vocals of Jessica Aahman. She has a fairly powerful voice and good range, and while she opts for a powerful delivery she also ventures into the realms of the operatic when appropriate, as well as utilizing a delivery partially replacing the strictly melodic with a sharper, edgier one. Often to good effect as well, I might add. But she's also opting for an emphasis on emotional rather than a strictly harmonic oriented delivery, which is something of an acquired taste I suspect. Personally I'm rather sensitive to such issues, and as such this is a negative part of this package for me personally. Others with a less sensitive set of ears might think otherwise, in particular those who generally prefer music emphasizing emotionally laden features. All in all, a fairly promising initial effort though, from a band that should manage to establish itself in a niche between old school progressive metal and the symphonic flavored variety explored by bands such as Nightwish.
Conclusion. Pleasant, accessible progressive metal incorporating a fair few details from the symphonic metal realm is what Akribi has to offer on their debut album "Black Morning Sun". A well made production in general, perhaps lacking ever so slightly in the adventurous department, but otherwise a fine effort. The vocals of Jessica Aahman won't hold universal appeal though, but for those who like her vocal approach and generally tend to enjoy music of this kind, this CD will be a fine addition to their music collections.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 14, 2012
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