Welcome to the Thinking Man! This week I bring to you the new single from Akheth, “The Asylum”. What caught my ear immediately is that the track felt like it was going to lead into some symphonic death metal sort of material … and it did! Akheth is like if Nightwish fused with Fleshgod Apocalypse to give you an idea of their sound.
Now you might be wondering what about this track is “progressive?” The quartet comes into the song with a bombastic presentation of horns and clashing drums. Then comes a spurting of blast beats to build up the adrenaline. The tempo settles as singing makes its way in, but then drastically picks up again. Rather than roll out a straight forward presentation of orchestral bliss and formulaic instrumentation, the song displays constant shifting in tempo and rhythm patterns.
Session drummer and percussionist Jeroen Simons (ex-Epica) shines throughout the material. Producing hammering drums and blistering blasts beats, he offers a variety of hysteric patterns to keep listeners on their toes. Lillian Liu slides in with elegant touches of piano and violin, while Roberto Sunga pounds away with the bass and guitar work (while also taking on other orchestral elements). Mark Jansen of Epica makes a guest appearance as well, adding an extra layer of brutality to the mix. Vocalist and pianist Foroogh Atash (Mahafsoun) brings a shine to the song with her opera-like singing.
The lineup displays a terrific range in taking these many elements, and putting them all into focus. The rapid shifts in speed and composition are never jarring, but more of a welcoming surprise. It takes away any cookie-cutter ideas, and presents a blend of symphonic death metal truly mesmerizing.
The package via Bandcamp comes with another version of the song, as well as an instrumental track that’s pretty damn neat. You can find Akheth via Facebook, and listen to “The Asylum” below. Thanks for tuning into the Thinking Man, and see ya’ll next week!