Review: Akshara – Absolution

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It’s like Lamb of God ventured a couple miles into djent town.

Akshara are a progressive metal sextet from Switzerland, and Absolution is their debut EP, released in the summer of 2018. I’m only partly joking when I say they’re like a djenty Lamb of God—the band is listed as one of their main influences, along with a handful of djent, metalcore, and tech death bands. If you like Randy Blythe’s vocal style, then you’ll really dig these guys.

The band is loaded up with three guitarists, and manages to take an ensemble that dense and not make things sound muddy. There are several instrumental ambient tracks throughout the EP that showcase some nice building of moods and textures, including “Anima Mundi,” which starts off the EP.

The title track is the first proper metal track on the album, and it features some catchy riffs and rollicking, rolling energy, constantly driving forward. The Lamb of God influence will also become readily apparent here, both in terms of vocal style and the groovy lines in the instrumental parts.

“Collateral Damage” continues the driving energy, and I have to say, for an independent release this is some high quality production quality they’re showcasing. “Playground” starts off with some interesting instrumental parts with off-kilter rhythms and slightly unexpected melodic lines, but the cleaner vocals at the beginning really fall flat for me. If it were actually clean instead of that hard rock gravel that seems to be pretty popular nowadays and had a smoother delivery between notes I think it’d work better but as it is it is one of the weak points on this EP for me.

Absolution really begins to shine toward the end, especially with the last two tracks. “Myalba” is an ocean of calm ambience, giving a break for the listener before they dive into “Ethereal Damnation,” which is the best track on the album to me, and showcases more of what sets them apart as a band. The technical, progressive aspects come out to the front more, there are more interesting textures in the vocals, the instrumental parts play around with rhythm and dissonance more. The EP is worth checking out for this track alone.

Akshara put out a commendable debut with Absolution, though I think they just barely began to come into a sound that was truly their own by the end of the EP. However, it’s still somewhat rare for a band to put out a debut of this quality, so they’re a band I would definitely keep on your radar.

3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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