Today we’ll take a look at Akphaezya’s latest album Anthology IV: The Tragedy of Nerak (presumably a concept album with a story, but I’ll be darned if I can follow it) released in March of this year. One should note that their first album was Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity and this is their second. Where are the other anthologies? Are they written and just not released? Do they just not like odd numbers?
This is one heck of a ride. It really spans the genres. The best analogy (and the one that everyone seems to use) is that this band is like Unexpect, but less psycho and with less circus influence. It is a slightly odd and unfair analogy, but the point that really fits is that they are quite outside the box and aren’t afraid of blending tons of things that shouldn’t work.
This album contains sounds that could be from 80’s dance music, hard rock, classic metal, maybe some djenty parts, a purely solo piano track, lots of jazz influence, and more. The vocalist is mostly in an operatic style, but there is some rough, gutteral stuff as well. As with Unexpect, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find some of these tracks in some rock opera. The feel is very theatrical and cinematic.
There’s comedy, fun parts, as well as scary intense parts. In fact, track 4 involves something that sounds like yodelling and 20’s style doo-woping. This is probably my favorite track because of how fun and original it is. I wish there were more like this on the album.
The album also fits together compositionally better than most I’ve heard in a long while. Despite there being such an insane diversity in styles across tracks, the musical ideas are very related. The tracks and themes fit together beautifully. You get motivic call-backs in later tracks if you are paying close attention. You get variations on the same idea in different styles.
Despite having nothing but praise for this album there is something that doesn’t sit right. I can’t put my finger on it. I love listening to it, and I love analyzing it. It is really a masterpiece. The only thing I can think of is that there might be a little too much. There are parts where I zone out a little and by the end of the album I feel exhausted. This tells me that it goes on a little too long. I think it is possible to trim about 8 minutes off this album to make my rating much higher.
Since I’m left with this mysterious feeling after a listen I usually have no desire to listen to it again for awhile. It takes work to motivate myself to listen to it. This is why I’m leaving you with a glowing review, yet giving the album a 7.5/10 overall.
Here’s a sample: