Akoma - RevangelsLet’s play a game of “guess the genre!” We have a band with a nondescript, vaguely fantasy-sounding name. Google betrays it to be the Ghanese word for “heart.” The album name is Revangels, which I’m guessing is a contraction of revenge and angels? That seems likely, but I choose to believe it’s about angels that have become groupies for deceased drummer, The Rev, instead, because that’s more clever than the alternative. Finally, for the cover, we have a woman falling victim to a heated battle between two armies of Photoshop enthusiasts. If these elements make you slam the buzzer to shout “Generic Nightwishcore!” then congratulations, you have just won the grand prize in the arbitrary game show metaphor!

The amateur sleuths in the audience may have detected a hint of snide in my tone. I assure you, this is not because the sub-genre of female fronted symphonic metal contains a fairly dramatic amount of homogeneity, nor because it rarely strives for remarkable songwriting and compositional depth. It’s because even in the context of the dearth of inspiration the sub-genre usually displays, Akoma is terrible in almost every way. The drummer is the only remotely redeeming feature, and to him, I dedicate the only 4 inspiring bars on the album: the tight double-speed kicks that introduce “Change of Propensity.” The rest of the record is rife with the misuse of his talents.

Meanwhile, every other element on Revangels could sink a better album all on their own. The vocals, generally the mainstay of Nightwishcore bands, are uneven, often irritatingly nasal, and even Tanya Bell’s most inspired performances are pedestrian at best. By the time she painfully croons her way through the obligatory ballad “Humanity,” unconvincingly conveying the clichéd “Kill me slowly/so I can feel the pain,” you’re ready to take the message to heart. Most of the symphonics sound canned and unconvincing, though it can be hard to tell whether the instruments used or the production are to blame for this. The guitars are among the most nondescript I’ve ever heard, and for some unfathomable reason, there are two of them. I haven’t heard an extra guitar go to waste like this since Iron Maiden had to find a use for Janick Gers when Adrian Smith returned. There’s also a bass player according to the promo sheet.

Akoma 2017But though all else rates a colorful variety of tepid, uninspired or irritating, the worst element by a landslide is the production. The Loudness War has become a loudness genocide here. The clipping alone should be in a war crime tribunal and it makes “Hand of Greed” and “Vita” literally unlistenable. Especially on the former, my earplugs equate to a pair of dentist drills and on my headphones, it’s like my eardrums are assaulted with a belt sander. It baffles me how a producer can declare a job well done while handing in a mix that is actually painful, without hyperbole, on any decent volume. It’s entirely possible the audio engineer has stakes in Pioneer because I predict many a blown speaker over this catastrophic master. Not all tracks carry the taint of exorbitant clipping, but if any track on an album makes me actively fear for my hearing and my equipment, I will be merciless.

I wanted to give Akoma a fair trial. Yes, my second paragraph may indicate a prejudice towards the sub-genre the band so eagerly revels in, but that’s merely because I believe it’s possible to make much better music within those confines than a large majority do. Early Nightwish and Within Temptation are a testament to that, but both have devolved towards commercialized Hot Topicness, along with most of the genre, and I’m eager to hear a band that can turn this development around. Akoma is not that band. They exemplify and magnify everything wrong about Nightwishcore and cover the results in a thick, turgid layer of loudness that should count as assault. The only reason this does not get a lower score is that the musicians aren’t actively incompetent, just extremely boring, generic and uninspired. Avoid this like the plague.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: akoma.bandcamp.com | akoma.dk | facebook.com/akomamusic
Releases Worldwide: January 13th, 2017

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  • Grymm

    “The guitars are among the most nondescript I’ve ever heard, and for some unfathomable reason, there are two of them. I haven’t heard an extra guitar go to waste like this since Iron Maiden had to find a use for Janick Gers when Adrian Smith returned.”

    Savage, dude. Also, painfully and woefully accurate. In fact, that non-fuzzy-faced guitar player seems to be thinking to himself, “Why the hell am I doing this?” in the video.

    • There’s so little going on music-wise it actually distracts from the vocals. I keep trying to hear…something.

  • Treble Yell

    Revangels? is this the sequel to Metal gear: Revengence?

    • Eli Valcik

      Zombies?

      • Eldritch Elitist

        RUUUUULES OF NAAAAATURRRRE

  • Diego Molero

    I cannot believe I actually put on pause Mercyful Fate to listen to that “song”. Regret every second of it.

    • Shame! Shame!

      • Diego Molero

        Hey, shame on the band! I’m just a dedicated reader of this site.

  • Maximos662

    I would classify the vocals as slightly above pedestrian (I’ve heard plenty of dreadful vocal performances), but the songwriting is so banal that whatever potential each of the musicians has is wasted on something less engaging than the weakest Enya track you can find.

    After the last Nightwish record, I was hoping for some band to pick up the mantle, because Endless Forms Most Beautiful sucked. This isn’t it.

    • Aguy

      The problem with Nightwish is that Tuomas hit some kind of high water mark on Once. People said “wow, Ghost Love Score sounds like a movie soundtrack!” and then he proceeded to forget everything he knew about metal (which wasn’t much) and set about making nothing but movie soundtracks from then on, and he’s drifted further and further into insanity.

      He could probably be saved if you locked him in a grim and frostbitten cage with nothing but electric guitars and skulls and forced him to make an album. Limitations, man.

      That and they’re doing the same thing every crapass symphonic metal band does, which is finding some pretty little slip of a girl who can only make pretty little girly noises to do the vocals. Say whatever you will about Tarja, the operatic style brought some desperately-needed weight to the compositions. If no one’s going to lock Tuomas in that cage, you could do worse than kidnapping Floor Janssen, or whatever her name was, and making them work with Lori Lewis instead.

      • AgonMcDuck

        To be fair to Floor, she is capable of much more than she showed on EFMB (which was a really light, bloated, and utterly disappointing album all-around). It seems that Tuomas wanted her to hold back. I have had a soft spot for Nightwish and I confess to liking Imaginaerum, and so I have some esteem for his compositional abilities, but man I sometimes wish he knew how to self-edit. :(

        • Aguy

          I actually liked Dark Passion Play even though Annette lacked, again, that operatic weight. But I found Imaginaerum and EFMB dull and forgettable; more and more Nightwish is resembling one of those candy-pop Dutch symphonic metal bands, just with a bigger budget.

  • This is one of the funniest reviews I’ve read here. I barely stopped laughing out loud after your description of this abominable cover, when this short line “There’s also a bass player according to the promo sheet” just downright destroyed me.

    • Thatguy

      Yeh, I don’t like this more than GT or anyone else, but being the pedantic bastard that I am I have to point out how very clearly I can hear the bass all through the embedded song. I’m not going to listen to any of their other songs to see if it’s the same there.

      • Congratulations, your post forced me to listen to this ’song’ finally. Well, a half of it. I wanted to hold the dinner in my stomach.
        I hear the bass, but only in the gaps between distorted guitars. When they come in, it miraculously disappears.
        A positive aspect of hearing this crap – my self-esteem got massive boost. I work on my own little record and I can safely announce that „it will sound better than some professional releases”.

        • Thatguy

          Sorry you felt that you had to listen. I am sure your effort will be better than this.

          • Maybe the word ‘induced’ would be more appropriate than ‘forced’. After all, everybody have this morbid curiosity towards ugly things, sometimes it just needs a trigger:)

      • AgonMcDuck

        I can hear the bass, alright, but it has no goddamned presence. They might as well have used a keyboard for that. Hell, for all I know, that’s what they did.

        • Thatguy

          True. I didn’t say it sounds good – just that I can hear it.

          • sir_c

            Sure it’s not the 50/60 Hz ground loop buzzing sound of an ill-connected amplifier you are hearing?

          • Thatguy

            Really? Have another listen if you can bear it.

          • sir_c

            I do hear it, as I have some proper headphones, unfortunately. Just tryin’ to be witty :-)
            I wished I had such a wonky amplifier whilst watching this clip, ffs, it would have improved it.

          • Thatguy

            Ha. Sorry.

  • Eli Valcik

    Yo, so I’m on a journey to find the absolute darkest/most evil/heaviest/kvlt metal band, I want to see if I can hit rock bottom. No reasons in particular. Any recommendations?

    • Diego Molero

      Gnaw Their Tongues.
      Portal.

      • Eli Valcik

        thanks man

    • Varun Dixit

      Plebeian Grandstand

    • Gaëtan Baratin

      Dodecahedron

    • Daniel Ritson

      I’m assuming that, along with the criteria provided, you also want something that doesn’t suck, i.e. we should avoid most war metal. With that said, as well as seconding the other excellent recommendations and playing a bit off the choice of Portal: Impetuous Ritual.

    • Josh

      I always found Indian: From All Purity to be particularly filthy.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Imperial Triumphant is pretty messed up. Love it.

      • Eli Valcik

        I love that band too, thats actually what got me invested in this little experiment.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Have you heard Seputus and Pyrrhon? Both contain members of IT.

          • Eli Valcik

            I’ll have to check that out

    • Name’s Dalton

      Khanate

    • manimal

      Altarage
      Ulcerate
      Perhaps a little Wormed, for something more laid-back

    • GardensTale

      Tetragrammacide

    • SuzyC

      I’ve always heard that Blasphemy was the be-all-end-all of Kvlt. I had their “Fallen Angel of Doom” LP. Though very seriously underground, never could get into it musically. Many years later a friend found out I had an original clear red vinyl pressing from Wild Rags and traded me his entire Ulver catalog (’95-’05 at the time) for it. So there’s that.

    • madhare

      I would say that the piece reviewed here is pretty much as kvlt as you can you get. Listen to this and you’ll definitely be the only serious metaller to do so. Therefore, a true individual. Giving shit about the status quo and other people’s tastes. Your kvltdom will be guaranteed.

    • FutureBeyondSatan

      I turn to Septicflesh when I want to conjure thy demon.

    • Reese Burns

      Portal are pretty disgusting, maybe start there.
      Edit: like, three other people said Portal before me, oops.

  • Joshua Walker

    I, definitely, agree with the review. However, I will say that this is still better than 87% of the music I hear on the radio in Alabama. Roll Tide!

    • madhare

      Ever considered a) not listening to the radio, b) moving? …although I guess radio channels are kind of crappy everyone. So perhaps just go with a.

  • Zach Ward

    Wow this is bad. Worst album of 2017 so far?? I can’t confirm tho I only made it through a third of the song.

  • Gaëtan Baratin

    Hey, at least the music video is in 60fps, always pleasing to watch.

  • Zephyrus

    I made it to the 2:30 mark in the embedded track and had to call it quits. Going through the whole thing multiple times must have been fun!

    • Ugo Poifol

      Spoiler : you didn’t miss anything on the other half of the song

  • ArtifeX

    Brilliant review, hilarious and spot on. I like how GardensTale took his “revangel” after wasting precious minutes of his life listening to this.

    • GardensTale

      Thanks! At least some good came out of this.

  • Rob

    It’s almost not funny how much faster I click to hear a 1 than I do a 3, or even 3.5. But holy shit this is bad. Great review, though!

    • madhare

      Same! There’s lot of mediocre stuff here that I never bother to listen. But in this case I immediately had to hear the shit (in this case literally) myself.

    • Grymm

      Guilty here as well.

      I love hearing what anything ranges between 0 and 1.5 sounds like.

    • Feu Arsenault

      There is this unwritten rule with art that to get known, recognized or even simply acknowledged, you have to either be the worst or the best. Averages tend to be forgotten.

  • AgonMcDuck

    Full disclosure: I like symphonic metal, hell, I like some of Within Temptation’s new stuff, and Liv Kristine is one of my favorite vocalists ever so I’m kinda biased towards this stuff. In fact, I was really excited to hear this track.

    That having been said… can’t really say this is good. The fact that Liv Kristine is here only exacerbates this vocalist’s shortcomings, and the whispering part near the end… what the fuck is she saying? Eh myeh myeh myeh? Huh? Super distracting and not in a good way.

    I’m also never happy when I have to turn down my volume by 30 points just so I don’t blow out my ears listening to something.

    I probably would have given this a 2 based on the featured song (though I have a bad feeling that’s probably the best song on the record, because Liv Kristine), but I still have no reason to put this in instead of early Nightwish/WT or Leaves’ Eyes. This band is pretty dime-a-dozen, that’s for sure.

    • GardensTale

      It’s one of the more tolerable tracks.

  • Martin Knap

    I feel like I’m bewitched after seeing the video :-P

  • Syn

    Symphonic Metal is one of my least favourite genres right now. I don’t actively dislike it like all those that end with -core, but I stay away from it like from a coughing stranger.

    I do love Liv, though!

  • metalcasket

    Since when was “Ghanese” a thing? Isn’t it supposed to be “Ghanaian”?

    Also, my browser froze for a total of 3 minutes while the song played and I could do absolutely nothing to stop it from playing. The rest of my day is effectively ruined.

    • GardensTale

      That makes much more sense. Sorry about your day, but could you not just have turned the volume to mute, or stuck your fingers in your ears and hummed really loud?

      • metalcasket

        Hah! Well, when you’re listening to something so mind-numbingly boring, you tend to lose the ability to use common sense.

  • basenjibrian

    Wow…you can even hear the clipping on a terrible cell phone speaker. But the bigger crime is the blandness.

    • GardensTale

      Try Hand of Greed on headphones, and if you survive, decide which is the bigger crime.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    i love you, gt turbo

    • GardensTale

      I love you too, AlphaBetaGammaDeltaWhatDoesTheFoxSayHmmGravyFace

      • madhare

        Thank YOU for that Ylvis reference! Went back to listen to What Does the Fox Say once again. Which I enjoyed about million times more than the embedded crud.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Sauvage!!!! This was comedy gold.

  • madhare

    I… thoroughly enjoyed this. The review I mean. :D The opening paragraph is witty, almost too witty… but you pulled it off nicely.

  • Reese Burns

    I pressed play on that song, now my whole world is pain.

  • Wilhelm

    The singer isn’t bad, it’s the pedestrian cliche metal that’s the problem. When Nighwish blended the lighter symphonic/power side with Gothic metal, it pretty much ruined every potential female fronted gothic band to emerge on the scene including the once greats, Tristania, ToT, etc.

    However, The new Angellore album is coming out this year, which, hopefully, will be fantastic, it will put shit like this to shame.

  • Ugo Poifol

    Actually this album is super useful for spotting out shitty review blogs.

    PlanetMosh for example (which I didn’t know) gave Revangels 5/5 stars, describing it as “one of the finest Symphonic Metal albums in years”, and citing the title track as the standout track.

    From the above, I can then conclude that PlanetMosh is garbage. Thanks Akoma !

    • GardensTale

      Oh my God yes, I was looking for other reviews and people were celebrating it like the second coming. Believe me, as a reviewer that just makes you think “Is it me? Am I the crazy one here? Why would anyone give this a high score?! WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?”

      • Ugo Poifol

        They’re shilling hard on the french webzine Spirit of Metal. 16/20, the dude wrote a fucking novel and praised it like it was a Nightwish best-of. I mean don’t think it’s shills but the description is so disconnected from the product there’s no other explanation.

        Regarding PlanetMosh, it’s like MetalWani : every review is positive with grades between 7/10 and 10/10. You literally open any review, it’s “awesome” or “captivating” or any other close epithet.

        • Reese Burns

          Well, just to see what you were talking about, I checked out Metal Wani for the first time in my life, and wow, how do people read that stuff? In their gig reviews they gave a Five Finger Death Punch/Sixx AM show a better rating than a Napalm Death/Black Dalia Murder show! It’s fucking crazy.

          • Ugo Poifol

            “wow, how do people read that stuff”

            They don’t. No comments or anything. Probably runs on Unicorn juice or corporate money.

        • AgonMcDuck

          Re PlanetMosh: Ill Niño got a fucking 9/10. That should tell you all you need to know.

  • Tyr

    Uugh Lorenna Mckennit with guitars. I’m surprised she didn’t start yodelling. At least the scenery was nice.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Yodeling would have been nice.

  • Alexandre Barata

    This sounds sexy, I can just imagine how many fatty goths will be on their shows!!!
    Symphonic Metal/Pop, what the world needs more and more!

    • Nag Dammit

      What about the poor old skinny goths? Where’s their fun at? I guess they can at least see their toes when they’re shoe gazing.

      • Alexandre Barata

        They go see Shining in the front row.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    This sub-genre is pretty congested, you’re 100% correct. And the style of the music itself kinda holds it back from almost anyone being all that unique. I kinda like Delain and Within Temptation. Not big on Epica or Nightwish, or these guys, but, really, stylistically, you could pick any album out of a pile with all these bands, and it would be difficult to tell which band you’d picked just by listening. The over-saturation is certainly not helping this stuff.

    • GardensTale

      Tell me about it. I’d really like something that doesn’t rehash those other bands. Can’t they incorporate a bit of Galneryus in there, get some vitality? Is that a weird thing to ask?

      • Ugo Poifol

        Galreynus is the kind of band that makes me want to grow my hair back and buy a sword.

        This on the other hand gave me cancer

  • Serjien

    And it s because of reviews like this one, I keep coming back :)
    The review is spot on btw, this is some crap bag music!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Iron Maiden found a use for Janick Gers when Adrian Smith returned: guitar dancer.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I listened to the embedded track. After it finished playing I just sat there enjoying the silence for about 3 minutes until I realized I was actively listening to the silence because I enjoyed it better than the song.

    • Nag Dammit

      John Cage is smiling in his grave.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        He had to wait for the song to be over to smile on his grave. While the song was playing he was turning on it.

  • sir_c

    Why is the vocalist in the clip trying to pluck apples from an imaginary tree? So annoying to watch.

    The overgrown ruins she is standing in are the best metaphor to describe this band’s music.

  • You know what the guitars reminded me of?

    Those cheap (really cheap) Ibanez/Fender Chinese Knock Offs called “De Andrés” (I suppose is a play for the D’Addario strings?)

    They sound like…. a cockroach orchestra in a matchbox. Painful.