REVIEWED: Akhlys – 'Melinoe'
Horror movies often have the protagonist sit bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat and drowning in fear from the nightmarish visions of their dreams. It’s precisely that level of dread and fear so many bands have tried to conjure up in their music. Very few ever succeed. Akhlys, however, are one of those few.
2015’s ‘The Dreaming I’ was a blistering masterpiece of suffocating and foreboding black metal. With five years sitting between releases, you often wondered if we’d be graced with such unbridled horror again. Not that main man Naas Alcameth has been resting on his laurels, releasing four albums with his plethora of other bands (including the equally excellent Nightbringer and Aoratos), but Akhlys’s last effort was so outstanding it was essential we were blessed with more.
‘Melinoe’ kick starts with ‘Somniloquy’ and things feel instantly like they are continuing where they left off. The overtly eerie yet crisp guitar tone slices through like a well-sharpened ceremonial blade and an almost unrelenting barrage of double kick sits wonderfully under some of the most savage vocals ever to be laid to tape. ‘Pnigalion’ starts with an almost ritualistic intro that suddenly goes worryingly still before the song bursts fully into life, attacking the listener with utter malice.
The use of atmospherics throughout is a masterstroke of subtle genius, far too many acts soak the mix with the soundscapes or go a little ‘Hammer Horror’ with it but Akhlys have managed to blend it perfectly throughout. In fact, every element of the music is perfectly mixed, nothing is drowned out and every instrument is given room to shine.
Overall, the album is a perfectly put together soundtrack to the end of the world, probably being brought about by hellish creatures from another dimension. Sure, it maybe doesn’t pack the same shock value as ‘The Dreaming I’ did but that’s because we’ve been exposed to the band’s sinister overtures already, but it is still a near-faultless offering that delivers like few others can. Truly an album to savour and maybe cause you to never sleep again.
'Melinoe' is out 14th December via Debemur Morti Productions