AKIN – The Way Things End

AKIN – (not in photo order) Luc Babut (bass), Matthieu Baker (guitars, backing vocals), Philippe Chaubiré (flute), Julien Chometton (rhythm guitar), Romain Fayet (drums), Adeline Gurtner (lead vocals) and Pierre Lucas (keyboards)

Akin is alleged to be prog-metal. Well, I certainly hope I won’t offend this excellent band if I say, “NO WAY!” Sure, there are heavy guitar parts and even a bit of shredding, but these are relegated so far down in the mix that you actually have to listen for them. How can you call a band prog-metal when they rely this heavily on a real string ensemble, lots of acoustic guitar plucking and strumming, flute, harmonizing vocal overdubs and a non-operatic female lead singer? Personally, I can’t. The poorly-defined Prog Archives designation of “heavy prog” I might buy. But calling this band prog-metal just doesn’t work for me. Not that I have anything against prog-metal you understand. I just think it’s a poor description.

Akin is a French band, though you can barely detect any accent from lead singer Adeline Gurtner as she belts out these tunes in flawless English. Don’t expect any operatic vocals á la Jessica Lehto (Factory of Dreams) or Simone Simons (Epica). If not for the heavy guitar oriented accompaniment, I’d almost call her vocals “folksy”. That’s by no means a bad thing … her vocals fit wonderfully into the music, which is complex, orchestrated with a great deal of variety and mood changes, and with liberal dashes of very Bach string concerto classical-sounding passages.

After a long hiatus (ten years!) since their last full album, Akin returns on the Progrock Records (the USA one) label with a fantastic new album, The Way Things End. If you’re interested in hearing their earlier album (and an EP), click the links above to download them for free from their Bandcamp site. The new album The Way Things End will be released by Progrock in September 2011. — Fred Trafton

Footnote: Actually, ProgRock Records‘ Shawn Gordon says they’re in, so click on over and order your copy now!

Click here to order The Way Things End from ProgRock Records
Click here for Akin‘s Facebook page
Click here for Akin‘s Bandcamp page
Click here for a review of The Way Things End on the Femme Metal Webzine


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