Akurion – Come Forth to Me [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

I’ll spare you the introductory remarks: Akurion continues in earnest what was started on Cryptopsy’s Whisper Supremacy by expanding smartly upon that foundation. It’s not that it directly lifts ideas, but there’s a certain energy, an essence, a je ne sais quois to None So Vile’s successor that I’ve just never again heard until I heard Come Forth to Me. Mike DiSalvo’s voice played a big part of both, and he’s even better here than he was back then.

Akurion is characterized by a certain boldness in concept and execution. Come Forth to Me was recorded live in studio, which given the nature and complexity of the material is quite the achievement. There’s also a level of patience here that’s often absent in mile-a-minute death metal; “Souvenir Gardens” takes nearly five minutes to get to the death metal portion, beginning with a cinematic intro written and programmed by Gorguts frontman Luc Lemay which transitions seamlessly into a gorgeous acoustic segment. The song retains an emotional heaviness with riffing and leads which are often aggressive, sometimes pained, but never hopeless. They even find beauty, if just for fleeting moments, again during the impeccable lead around the eight-minute mark and again at about nine-and-one-half minutes, and in the acoustic reprise at the conclusion. This emotional heaviness animates “Petals from a Rose Eventually Whither to Black” – the apotheosis of Whisper Supremacy – and is elevated further by exceptional backing vocals by Genevieve DiSalvo1 which add another dimension to the death metal on display.

I can’t call this a melodic death metal record much in the same way I can’t call Whisper Supremacy that – it narrows their scopes and gives a false impression of what’s in store. Suffice it to say, melody and harmony are used expertly here, and special mention must go to the exceptional lead work of Neuraxis’s Rob Milley, who turns in what is, to my ears, the best performance of his impressive career. Drummer Tommy McKinnon (ex-Neuraxis) and bassist Oli Pinard (Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation) make for a formidable rhythm section, being creative, active, and never masturbatory. The performances are captured by a fitting and appealing production, which has enough force behind it to emphasize the impact of the music but doesn’t fall prey to the follies of the Loudness War.

Come Forth to Me is easily the most exciting death metal release of 2020. It’s lightning in a bottle, captured for posterity in music. It at once manages to capture so much of what makes the Quebecois death metal scene special and moves the style forward into exciting new pastures. That I didn’t mention until now that Lord Worm appears herein to sing with DiSalvo – bridging two “generations” of Cryptopsy in a thrilling manner – speaks to how much of value is going on within this record’s fifty-eight minutes of sheer quality. This is intelligent death metal that doesn’t become pretentious, something that holds immense value for those who want to both bang and use their heads.

Tracks to Check Out: ”Leave Them Scars,” “Petals from a Rose Eventually Whither to Black,” “Souvenir Gardens”

Show 1 footnote

  1. The wife of Mike DiSalvo, who sadly passed away in 2018.
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