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Akrival: Vitriolic

19/11/08  ||  The Duff

Sometimes, but rarely, selecting a random album for review can bare some very pleasant rewards, and such is the case with Akrival. A German black metal band, they originally formed as Apostasy as far back as 1994, so to call these guys seasoned would be an understatement considering they’ve been around almost as long as the now legendary veteran acts. “Vitriolic”, however, is only the band’s second full-length release, focus spent on underground demos possibly as a result of many years of unstable line-ups. I guess you could tag this avant-garde or whatever the fuck, but the truth of the matter is that these guys are relatively unique in the sense that they are quite technical and write unconventional riffs that have more of a death metal structure than anything else – there’s quite a buoyant, fun feeling to this kind of black metal, so if you’re looking for something with more of a dark, loathsome vibe, I would suggest checking out something else.

If you were to observe the album cover, I don’t think you would be incorrect in assuming this band to embody black metal nihilism, so the first thing that will take you aback is the production – it’s very bright, not in anyway close and claustrophobic like many albums influenced by early primitive BM, and the clarity of each instrument is startling considering the band has essentially only been releasing demos save one album up until this point; you would’ve thought checking out their back-catalogue (one demo of which comprises a rehearsal) that these Germans made their way through life blowing studio execs for a hollowed out-of-service waste disposal unit and some microphones, but it would seem they’ve really got their act together for this effort; all the tracks are original cuts too, whereas the one past effort included many old demo tracks.

The influences, despite how technical some of this can get (juxtaposed with the usual hyper-blast, melancholy chord fury-picking combo), would primarily appear to be bands like Immortal and… Immortal? Although I can acknowledge the aforementioned Norwegians as one of the best things to have ever happened to the metal scene, they did go through a bad patch (talking about “Battles in the North” and “Blizzard Beasts”, even though I know many idolize the former), and yet Akrival seem to have drawn inspiration from such a period only to use it to their advantage – there isn’t a bad moment on this disc, and it’s all executed by folk who generally seem to enjoy what they’re doing without feeling the need to sodomize a goat whilst playing blast-bleats (HAHAHA!… aaa…?).

I know black metal support can become very elitist, even with old school bands who have done their time yet insist on releasing more quality albums only to be met with criticism (cough Emperor what’s wrong with you bitches? cough), but so long as one is willing to overlook the slight lack of experience in songcrafting and minimal variation between songs, then some talented musicianship is the listener’s boon. Considering this could be nothing more than a spare-time deal of a band (minimal web-page content, live shows rarely venturing beyond Germany’s borders, few and sporadic news updates) is impressive, as these guys are far from disappointing.

7 fun surprises, like a goat’s backside out of 10.

  • Information
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: Pictonian Records
  • Website: www.akrival.de
  • Band
  • Scarog: vocals
  • Vincent: guitars
  • Naamahash: bass
  • Borisshk: drums
  • Carog: guitars
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Vitriolic Circles
  • 02. Striving For Antipathy
  • 03. Lost Man’s Domain
  • 04. Straight Path To Disintegration
  • 05. Thorn
  • 06. Moor Of Mercilessness
  • 07. Your Last Breath
  • 08. Desperate Fight
  • 09. War Commands