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Akem Manah (Belgium) : Beneath

the new Ep of the Belgian Atmo Doom band Akem Manah sounds a bit flat.

Aka Manah, also known as Akem Manah, is a demon of the Zoroastrian mythology; he is often referred to as the demon of “evil intention”, “evil mind” or “evil purpose”. As far as Doom Metal is concerned, two bands bear that name, and quite honestly it'll never cease to amaze me that with all the human beliefs, traditions and legends you can think of, two projects belonging to the same small scene can still manage to adopt the same extremely obscure moniker.

Anyway, the Akem Manah this review is about is a Belgian atmospheric Death Doom band that has had a hard time making their voice heard until now. Hopefully, this review will change things a bit. Before receiving this one-song EP, I had bought the band's first full-length. Listening to both that first effort and their new release makes you understand why they have remained so unknown: the music does not shine!

The band can come with lots of ideas, with solid musicianship, with emotions that swim through your thick skin and touch your most responsive inner chords, but still – if they don't shine, they are doomed to fall under the radar. This conclusion alone is not sufficient to file away the case of Akem Manah, though.

Akem Manah focus on a progressive narrative in which the singer leads the play – a tendency which reminds me of Why Angels Fall, to a certain extent (on a side note, I received a promo without lyrics, which is a shame since they are of such importance). The storytelling is marked out with various twists and turns, soaring moments and quiet breaks while the basic structures are formed by energetic and somewhat unremarkable riffing and a drum performance which is quite dull in the long run, I must admit.
The voice is mostly clean, calm and a bit choked also; it works well within the framework chosen by the band. It is sometimes complemented by gruff growls which create the typical and welcome bleakness that we love about the genre. But to me, the most interesting parts are when the band accelerates the pace and goes full Death with crushing and mean guitar riffs and hectic drumming. Too bad that those moments don't last longer.

This 21 minute long song is best imagined as a long river flowing along with all its random meanderings helping to give it slightly different shades; some distinctive motifs such as short bass lines, double-kick, cello (too little!) and other too sparsely used ideas add a bit of variation to the whole, but as I've said, in the end it doesn't really shine. A bit like your usual surrounding countryside, green fields and gently rolling hills, all tamed, all modest. In nature, this is not necessarily a flaw, but in 'extreme' music, it starts to become one.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Beneath

Duration : Approx. 21 minutes

Visit the Akem Manah (Belgium) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-07-01 by Vincent B.
Forever Autumn
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