The last and debut album by French and hard to pronounce band Akphaezya fair did my noggin in back in 2008. It was a mad mixture of all sorts of styles, thrown together in a melting pot of confusion but whilst confounding and being very difficult to put into words, was also very entertaining with it. Having entered at Anthology II we skip straight to part IV (of V in total) for the follow up and it has been written, we are told, to play out like a Greek Tragedy a century after part II. If any of that makes sense to you well done, of course the music is just as obtuse and hard to fathom as the concept behind it all.

Let’s get away from the concept though for the sake of sanity and get into the music itself. This gets underway properly after a prologue drops us into the up tempo futurist keyboards of ‘Slow Vertigo’ which then chugs in and flows around the sultry voice of singer Nehl Aëlin. This is all structured in quite a linear fashion as a song and is not the strange and baffling affair I had expected. In fact with the combination of Nell’s voice and the music behind it I am reminded a little of a more avant version of Flowing Tears. ‘Sophrosune’ batters in injecting a sense of anger courtesy of what sounds like male backing vocals (but is apparently Nehl proving she can be beastly just as well as saccharine)  and violent musical charges, which are at contrasting odds with the melodic keyboard work. Then for no reason it all goes in a jazz direction illustrating the first instance where all is not quite as it seems. ‘Utopia’ is however the point it all goes manic as it trots in samba style and then flies off in a totally demented fashion with geisha sounding vocals and ‘cat chase mouse’ cartoon etched xylophone canters. As odd as it is, it is also quite deliriously delicious.

The voice and instrumentation work very well together, changing styles at the drop of a pin and flowering the songs with dashes of progressiveness, torch song cabaret and jazz which is really prolifically focussed on for an album that dwells in the metal spectrum. ‘Transe L.H. 02’ is a nice break from the head melt craziness and is a simple piece of gorgeously haunting classical piano. This is at complete odds from the jagged guitar and bass of ‘Genesis’ which does have a strong metal backbone about it. The group claim to have three bows to their arrow, a literal, musical and visual one. They all combine at standout track ‘Nemesis’ but rather than listen to me try and clumsily sum them up click the link and see for yourself 

Make no mistake this is an album that takes time and you need to give it repeated spins before getting anywhere really with it. This means that it obviously won’t be for everyone but if you go the distance you will be rewarded with a very clever and imaginative album that goes beyond the realms of expected music.

Well I hope I may have managed to pull off a review and part way describe what you can expect from the group. If not I guess in the future I am going to have another three attempts at getting into the weird and wonderful world of Akphaezya.

(7/10 Pete Woods)