Archive for the ‘Akhlys’ Category

Akhlys — The Dreaming I

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

The French record label Debemur Morti Productions continues to release gem after gem. With acts such as Blut Aus Nord, Year Of No Light, and now the iconic and reformed Norwegian band In The Woods… on their list, their taste appears impeccable. The label’s latest release serves to reinforce this view, unleashing the darkest nightmares of Nightbringer’s Naas Alcameth in their sonic form through another project of his: Akhlys. The Dreaming I, out on April 20th, is Akhlys’ new expression of oneiric visions. Inspired by the dreams of their creator, the songs are consuming works of grandiose intensity and epic dark atmosphere.

It would seem the key delineation between Nightbringer and Akhlys would be found within what inspires the music and lyrics. Knowing what Naas Alcameth has to say about this makes it clear; however, there is more to it than that alone. Akhlys’ birth was clearly borne of dark ambient ambitions. On this second release, black metal erupts savagely from the soporific and dominates. Whilst the ambient style may be scaled back on this occasion, it remains a vital form within the overall effect of the record. This mesmerising, dreamlike flow between the styles is something that distinguishes Akhlys from Naas’ other projects. Through their combination, what the styles have in common is highlighted with fantastic outcomes.

Akhlys’ first release was an opus in two seamless parts, Supplication. On The Dreaming I, the five songs could pass again as one epic piece. Each song can stand alone as a magnificent piece; but, for all that quality, piece by piece does not compare to the experience of taking in the full record in one transportive, jaw-dropping listen. The ambient passages heighten the surreal and hallucinatory quality of the record’s atmosphere, drawing you in deep and far from the waking world. The black metal is of the absolute highest quality. In its most lethiferous and explosive moments, The Dreaming I places the genre in a position that is as good as it has ever been, ambitious and instrumentally masterful with a production that unleashes all of the nightmarish detail, hiding nothing from the listener. Have a listen to “Consummation” and tell me it is not one of the very best black metal songs you have ever heard. I dare you.

The number of high quality black metal releases coming out of late is becoming something of a blur. Even so, The Dreaming I stands out. It is bound to be a favourite amongst those who are fans of Naas Alcameth’s other work and those who seek out black metal’s more cerebral and imaginative efforts. The album’s polish and flawless performance should rightly attract plenty of admirers from metal fans outside of the black metal scene. It is a record of great atmospheric scope, transpiring as a thoroughly engaging journey from start to finish. Naas Alcameth should be proud of what he has done here; but, no doubt his search for stylistic balance within the Akhlys project and deeper spiritual expression overall will drive him on to try and achieve something even better. That is one hell of a scary, but wonderful, thought.