Akroma
Apocalypse (Requiem)

Listen. For me, vocals are an integral part of metal. Whether it’s death metal, black metal, power metal or even brutal death metal, vocals can make or break an album. And with the 4th album from France’s symphonic black metal act Akroma, they absolutely break it.

I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to an album, of any genre where the vocals have so whole heartedly ruined an otherwise solid effort. The culprit is Alain “Bob” Germonville, one of the band’s two lone remaining members. And it starts from the very opening notes of album opener “Kyrie” where he unleashes a screech/scream/shout, so nail gratingly, paint peelingly awful and goddamn long that I almost hit the stop button. And so his high pitched, off key, scream/shouts litter the rest of the album making it nigh un-listenable. Which is a shame because, when he’s not doing it, he uses some acceptable mid range, gruffer growls and is also occasionally joined by Laura Kimpe (who also guested on Elvaron’s 2016 effort Ghost of a Blood Tie) , who provides some operatic female vocals.

And it’s a real shames, and I get the need to be different or unique and stand out from the pack, but when he isn’t delivering his terrible screams, everything else going on is actually pretty damn solid within the realms of symphonic /progressive black metal. The orchestration, choirs and guitars of fellow original member Matthieu Morand (also of Elvaron) deliver solid Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth like majesty and epic, rousing symphonic black metal not dissimilar to the recent Scuorn album I covered.

For example, the opening bombastic salvo  and killer midsection of standout of “Santus” is pretty darn impressive and epic, but then Alain jumps in, making Dani Filth look  like Issac Hayes or Barry White, and I want to pour acid into my ears to make them feel better.  The same can be said for the likes of “Agnus Dei”, “Lux Aeterna”, “In Paradisium” and pretty much all of the album’s 6 songs: really good, sweeping symphonic black metal just completely ruined by the main vocals. In truth, I can’t remember an album from recent or far memory where the vocals were such an off putting, and album destroying element, especially when everything else was so good.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 22nd, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: emperorj

    Music’s not too terrible, but that dude does sound like an elf version of Schmier from Destruction. :/


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