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Note : 8.75/10
AKPHAEZYA...'ANTHOLOGY IV, THE TRAGEDY OF NERAK'
(Code666/Aural Music) Reviewed 2nd July 2012
French band Akphaezya was born in 2002 as a project of guitarist Stephan H, later joined by vocalist and keyboardist Nehl Aëlin, drummer Loic Moussaoui and bassist Stephane Beguier, releasing their début album 'Anthology II, Links for the Dead Trinity' in 2008. The albums are based on another world called Akphaezya, each album covering a part of its story as Stephan finds out more about it in his research which is currently incomplete, so at the moment there is no Anthology I or III. This one is about a complete play in the style of an Ancient Greek tragedy he has recently discovered about a town called Nerak, the city of elements, and the tragic love story of an Ayzeahpka girl Nimim Ninnom and the human boy Sor-Dna, with a prelude, four acts of two songs each, an interval and epilogue. They are described as an avant garde band, if this conjures up images of mass weirdness, don't worry, although slightly similar to the likes of Stolen Babies and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, they are far more akin to a mix of Therion, Stream of Passion, Gathering and Diablo Swing Orchestra, I would it 'Eccentric Metal'. On the occasions when they do hop around is is very well constructed so it's a natural progression, not thrown together, and the music is very accessible and enjoyable with Nehl's superb Anneke Van Giersburgen type voice, although she does other styles as well as contributing wonderful rippling piano. Act 1 Spring is more gothic metal, the terrific rocking 'A Slow Vertigo' and 'Sophrosyne' which contains some touches of death metal. Act 2 Summer heads towards DSO, the catchy wacky 'Utopia' which sounds a bit like a Wilson, Keppel and Betty sand dance featuring Betty Boop, and 'Húbris' that starts out dramatic before an injection of swing jazz. During the interlude 'Transe H.L.' instead of popping out to the rest room and getting an ouzo I would recommend staying and listening to Nehl's beautiful classical piano. Act 3 Autumn heads towards prog with 'Genesis' sounding like Muse propelled by massive riffage and the sublime mellow acoustic 'Dystopia'. Finally Act 4 has 'Nemesis' which sounds like modern metal version of a 1920's silent movie ccompaniment, appropriately they have used it for their animated video (on Female Voices), and the powerful dramatic 'The Harsh Verdict'. These are all approximate descriptions as they love to put into the songs all sorts of musical escapades from Spanish acoustic to American jazz. A most fascinating, creative, artistic and entertaining collection of music is on offer here, and like with DSO, as long as you are fairly open minded then you find it extremely enjoyable. Their legendary land is www.akphaezya.com/, an animated 8.75/10 (Phil)