Exploring a variety of extreme metal traits and breaking up the intensities with elements inspired by soundtracks and world music, this 2018 release from Akhenaten is very interesting. It certainly isn’t your run of the mill death metal release. But then, you should expect nothing less than a sense of adventure and a progressive attitude from an album that “explores the forgotten paths of history” and is “steeped in the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia”.
Formed in 2010, it was less than a year before Russian metallers Ram-Page found themselves in the studio with enough money and support to record their debut album. The resultant LP, ‘The Keeper of Time’ gained enough attention for the band to actually shoot a couple of promotional videos before heading back into the studio to record a second album, eventually released in April 2012. With a similar whirlwind approach, a third release appeared the following year. In metal terms, it seemed these guys were following a similar breakneck approach to working as their 80s thrash and NWOBHM heroes.
Switzerland isn’t always known for it’s metal bands. Celtic Frost are arguably the country’s finest hard rock/metal exports, closely followed by Krokus, but compared to neighbouring Germany, they’ve never been the biggest players on the musical map. Obviously, size is a factor. That said, black metallers Pure make more noise than about fifty metal bands playing simultaneously and their 2017 release ‘J’aurais Du’ is a frightening experience to say the least.
The Father of Serpents is a six headed beast comprised from members of various Serbian extreme metal bands. The combination of their talents hoped to recreate the sounds of classic doom with a melodic death metal edge, taking the mantle from established bands like (early) Paradise Lost, (early) My Dying Bride and Cathedral. It doesn’t take too long after hitting the play button on their 2017 release ‘Age of Damnation’ before it’s obvious that the vision they’d hoped for has been reproduced in a spectacular fashion.
It very much seemed that by the end of 2016 there were very few places across the globe that hadn’t been affected by a plague of black metal. Bands were springing up in some very unlikely places and seemingly on a weekly basis. No longer just the product of various Scandinavian territories and a few other places, for such a niche genre, black metal seemed to be big business (relatively speaking, of course). While many bands seemed happy to screech and hiss their way down a familiar path, there genre still had other avenues to explore.