It’s mid-October and Akral Necrosis have just released several days ago their second full length, “Underlight”, on the Romanian label Loud Rage Music. The follow up to “Pandemic Dominion”, which saw the light of day as an independent release 4 years ago, “Underlight” represents the coming of age of this talented Romanian black metal band.
Since their last release they have evolved considerably, leaving all the influences aside and finding a style of their own which really suits them very well. Gone is the thrashy black metal which was present on the first release and instead, the sound has been upgraded to a furious, old-school like black metal, where aggression and virtuosity blend superbly with some melody and groove (pay attention to some guitar riffs and solos and you’ll hear what I’m talking about).
Another good thing (and a major improvement, I must say) is the addition of a second guitar player, Damian, who basically brings a much deserved balance in the songs’ structure and makes the shredding even fiercer (not to mention the backing vocals, delivered with an angry growl).
“Underlight” has everything a black metal album needs – great riffing, frenzied double bass drums and tormented vocals – plus a perfect production: the album was recorded and mixed in Studio 148, with the help of Marius Costache, who did an amazing job.
To match the dark music on the record, the album features a well matching cover, created by Costin Chioreanu, who also worked with the band on their debut album. Drawn mostly in black and white, the cover captures perfectly the dark message which emanates from the new album.
The production on this album is extraordinary and this made the drums and bass guitar to be perfectly audible, thus playing a major role in the economy of the album. The best part of this album, instrumentally wise, is the presence of Mishu‘s bass guitar, which is otherworldly, with an immense, full sound.
The bass guitar is omnipresent, from beginning to end, transforming the already heavy tempo into an even heavier rhythm. On the other hand, the drums with the double bass pedals are heavy as fuck and the drummer seems to be possessed by a high voltage frenzy, delivering some very memorable blast beats.
I was so close to write a review describing each and every song, but eventually I decided this won’t do the album much justice so instead I decided to talk about it as a whole, because “Underlight” needs to be listened from beginning to end, to receive that fucking black metal fist right in the face.
The 9 tracks on the album are short (with the exception of “Purge“, which with its 7 minutes is the longest) but very complex and fierce, so there’s no time to waste here. These guys have a serious statement to make and they do it right from the very first track, “Separator“, which was also present on their (Inter)Section split with Marchosias, released last year.
A certain darkness emanates from this album and even if the band doesn’t fall in the trendy trap of today’s common occult stuff, they manage to create a cold, evil music where Octav‘s tortured vocals pair with the other instruments and spew forth a cursed entity that haunts your head long after you have listened to the album. That is its magic, the feeling that something wicked comes after you when you listen to this music: “The light is fading, The Dark returns“.
There’s plenty of good riffs on “Underlight” ( too many to mention,actually) with a chilling atmosphere that sometimes makes me wonder if this is a Romanian band or a Scandinavian one. (Marduk, Nightwing era comes to mind – listen to “Exhortatio ad Bellum” and you’ll see why). Speaking of this, I am quite surprised ( and disappointed, to be honest) that Akral Necrosis is one of the very few black metal bands Romania has to offer at his point that CAN actually play this genre the way it should be played. Fast, nekro, in your face black metal, with no other inlfuences whatsoever.
Tracks like “King in Yellow“, “Saturnian Gallows”, “Hounds of Plague” (what an anthem, Satan be praised!!) show that good, evil music can be played in Romania as well as long as there’s dedication and a certain sense of originality in this sea of mediocrity and plagiarism.
“Underlight” proudly stands on its “Black Throne”, high above all the other releases that our so called “extreme” metal bands have recorded under the false moniker of black metal and its derivatives. This music is not for pussies and it should be listened at maximum volume to let its wicked sound infect your body. Addiction is guaranteed, I can promise you that.
To support the release of Underlight, Akral Necrosis have started a small tour which will take them through several Romanian cities. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch them live in your town and buy the cd, it’s worth every leu. For more info, check the band’s Facebook page.
Underlight Track list:
02. King in Yellow
03. Saturnian Gallows
04. Exhortatio ad Bellum
06. Sin Gauntlet
07. Hounds of Plague
Akral Necrosis Line Up:
Octav Medis – vocals
Victor – guitars
Damian – guitars
Mishu – bass
Traian – drums