AKROMA – Apocalypse (Requiem)
Akroma, which is a symphonic black metal horde hailing from France, recently released its fourth full-length opus in the shape of this 6-track album entitled "Apocalypse (Requiem)". While the emphasis is on symphonic, orchestrated, and epic black metal, these guys have incorporated a lot of progressive elements into their musical universe, which provides the songs with a bit of variety and some unexpected turns. I applaud the idea of writing dynamic songs with diversity to them, but what I do not applaud are the vocals on the album. Allow me to elaborate on that; the desperate and hysterical vocals are downright awful and laughable. They bring nothing to the table whatsoever and contribute absolutely nothing worthwhile to the actual music. This is way worse than a flu-ridden Dani Filth on an off-day. The latin chants courtesy of Laura Kimpe fare better and add a sinister and yet strangely sensual atmosphere to the proceedings, but even they cannot redeem the insanely annoying "black metal" vocals that plague this disc.
I dig some of the keyboard work on the record as well as many of the hymn-like melodies that appear throughout the album. I also like the fact that "Apocalypse (Requiem)" is not entitely predictable or devoid of surprises. The production is decent and the album lacks neither punch nor power, but while Akroma manages to establish a truly majestic atmosphere in places, one cannot overlook the fact that the vocals bring ruin to the whole fucking enterprise here. If Akroma wants to unleash violent, mystical, and moody music with an impact on the unsuspecting metal masses, they need to address those vocal issues. If you find yourself alone and in the mood for some delightfully dark and grandiose black metal that sounds convincing and passionate all the way through, you need to look elsewhere.