Akphaezya - Anthology IV (The Tragedy Of Nerak),
Just to get a couple of things out of the way, firstly this isn’t an anthology and also this is actually their second album and not their fourth. This French outfit came together in 2002, with Stephan H. Zag-Zero (guitars/concept-story), Nehl Aelin (vocals/keyboards), Loic Moussaoui (drums) and Stephane Béguier (bass) and have been working on this album for the last couple of years. There are some songs such as “Utopia” that are just strange (much in the vein of some of System of a Down’s quirkier moments), whereas others are a little (but only a little) more straightforward, but the only debate to be had here is whether this is prog metal, symphonic metal, or avant-garde metal? To be honest, who cares? This is complex music played with passion and aggression yet always with stacks of melody and often some great piano to provide a little lightness.
The production is stunning, but when one looks a little closer at the credits it is hardly surprising as it was recorded and mixed by S.Biguet (Trepalium, klone, Comity...) and mastered by Brian Gardner (Down, Lamb of God, Queen, Suicidal Tendencies, QOTSA etc). There are times when Nehl reminds me of Candia from Incubus Succubus with her good clear vocals, but she is adept at many different styles which is just as well given what is going on with the music. It can be acoustic and gentle one minute then strident and domineering the next, truly progressive as it moves through lots of different styles and emotions – but always with a metal base.
This is heavy stuff, and needs to be played at a high volume, but if you enjoy music that is both heavy and moving in different directions then this should be on your player.www.code666.net