Akin: The Way Things End
Akin is a Lyon, France - based progressive/metal band that formed back in 1998. They have released two previous albums to critical acclaim in France. The Way Things End might ironically be the way things begin for the global recognition this bands deserves. This album is a superb compilation of unique sounding tracks full of great instrumentation, a string quartet and one of the best female vocalists I've heard this year. The band was recently signed to the label, ProgRock Records according to President Shawn Gordon. Good news since we all need to hear more from this band.
The band is made up of, Luc Babut, bass guitar; Matthieu Baker, guitars and backing vocals; Philippe Chauvire, flute; Julien Chometton, rhythm guitar; Romain Fayet, drums; Adeline Gurtner, lead vocals; and Pierre Lucas, on keyboards. They also used the additional accompaniment of a string quartet (from the CNSMD de Lyon) with Elsa Claveria and Rachel Givelet on violin; Samuel Hengebaert on viola; and Florian Nauche on cello. Guillaume Prost provides darbuka on 'The 92nd flight'; Elodie Poidier provides dilruba on 'Miller's End' and additional cello on 'Miller's end', 'The 92nd flight', 'Unhearted', 'Before the Storm' and 'Coma'. Sylvain Gerard provides darbuka and djembe on 'Unhearted', daf on 'Miracles' and tablas on 'Miller's End'.
The quality and professionalism on this album can be heard from the opening. The depth of the sound and lyrics and the musical development is a wonderful experience. Every track is excellent and full of emotion and layers of great instrumentation.
'The 92nd Flight' is a wonderful opening with sounds of props before the whirlwind begins with strong violin, bass, electric guitar and drums. The flute and piano work on this first track are also excellent. A great launch for this album, and an instrumental overture to grace Adeline Gurtner's lead vocals as she unfolds the story. Guillaume Prost's darbuka and Elodie Poirier's cello help add flavor to the overall mix. An excellent opener and one of the best tracks on the album.
Slow acoustic guitar and violin open 'Cassandra', another of the best songs on the album. On this track Adeline Gurtner's lead vocals really stretch out with violin, cello, bass, guitar and drums supporting. The melody and rhythm are fast paced and well crafted. The support of the string quartet really adds dimension to the band's sound. The lead electric riffs are also very cool, set against that incredible string quartet, especially at the moments they build power together.
'Unhearted' opens beautifully with Adeline Gurtner's lead vocals set to piano, then acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and Sylvain Gerard's darbuka and djembe. They definitely understand how to fill a soundscape with plenty of instruments to appreciate as they have developed a mature setting for their sound.
'When' opens almost like a pop/rock song and feels out of place at the beginning. But wait until the full soundscape joins in, complete with bass, lead guitars, and drums.
'Miracles' opens with some excellent guitar riffs with keys and the string quartet supporting. Then some bass and electric guitars ring through as the drums join in. Gurtner's lead vocals enter to more beautiful strings, drums, and lead electric, "What if we were wrong, what if there was no hope? I would still believe in miracles". The guitar and bass music is wonderful throughout this track. The darbuka and djembe add so much to the sound.
'Burning Skies' is a short 54 second transitional track set to Gurtner's humming with Baker's backing vocals and flute. It is the perfect transition for an entry to space.
Then Gurtner's beautiful voice opens 'Enter Spaceman'. The track is set to wonderful lead violin with the quartet supporting. The drums, bass and acoustic guitar build a strong rhythm, before Baker's vocals, "Mr. Spaceman take me with you to another solar system". Baker then joins in a duet with Gurtner to provide one of the biggest highlights of the album.
Cool guitar effects before soft and hard electric guitar breezes over the soundscape of 'No Second Ride'. Then Gurtner's altered vocals before she brings on the full soundscape, complete with power keys, drums, bass and lead electric.
'Before the Storm' opens with beautiful acoustic guitar and flute before the wonderful string quartet unfolds its magic. At 1:23, it's short but an excellent transitional track.
'Resilience' on the other hand took me back to the 60s with a perfect jazzy flute before the strings and Gurtner's voice join in. The power chords are back and they are really using that string quartet to its full effect. The spoken poetry helps to lift the level of the quality on this album even higher.
Beautiful electric guitar surrounds Gurtner's voice on 'Falling Deeper' perfectly. The strings then surround her as keys, backing vocals, drums, guitar and bass help add to the sound.
'Miller's End' opens with spoken word poetry, set to the rhythm of the drums, bass, keys, and strings. Then the sound picks up pace as the string sound and bass growls grow louder. Heavy guitar and drums adding to the mystery and eerie soundscape. Elodie Poirier's dilruba joins in the soundscape to make this my favorite track. Just magnificent in every way. Deep strings, bass and tablas setting the sound apart from any of the other tracks on the album. It drifts into a noise cacophony bringing back memories of 'The Waiting Room' from the 'Lamb', very cool.
'Coma' opens with that beeping sound associated with the emergency room before some intricate bass and drums. The echoing guitar effects are cool as Gurtner's voice returns to provide more magic, "Somewhere in the back of the night, there's a fire only you could ignite". Stuck on the hospital bed, she pleads for the help to wake her from the coma, "I won't last for long. Will you come and save me? My life is only hanging by a thread". Beautiful piano accompanies her soft vocals. They finish with a cool drum and beeping sound duel effect.
"How could you ever understand", as Gurtner's voice opens 'No Betrayal'. Power guitars, bass, and drums with backing female vocals as the string quartet fills the supporting landscape well. Then wonderful acoustic guitar, strings and flute before the bass and lead electric join back in again.
"When dreams turn into nightmares. But for every dusk there's a dawn arising. And I do believe in a destiny that everyone can change" lifts from Gurtner, to open 'A Better End'. Those strings are back to support as drums, bass, and soft lead electric weaves through the middle. "There must be a better end".
An excellent introduction to this band.
1. The 92nd Flight 05:42
2. Cassandra 05:26
3. Unhearted 03:56
4. When 03:06
5. Miracles 04:06
6. Burning Skies 00:54
7. Enter Spaceman 03:16
8. No Seconde Ride 03:18
9. Before the Storm 01:22
10. Resilience 05:46
11. Falling Deeper 03:16
12. Miller's End 05:16
13. Coma 05:12
14. No Betrayal 04:36
15. A Better End 05:12
Added: June 11th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Band Website
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