Akhlys
The Dreaming I


5.0
classic

Review

by Steven28 USER (2 Reviews)
April 28th, 2015 | 235 replies


Release Date: 04/10/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A soundtrack that punishes and brutalises and frightens and makes me grin sadistically

This is not an immediate album. You need to be in the right mental and physical environment. Walking tentatively through the woods late at night, wrapped in your covers hiding from the darkness -- and my personal favourite: after a stupefying level of gin (though gin makes everything spectacular, no") 'The Dreaming I' is practically a mood piece. The aggression sludges together into ambient darkness while melodies writhe and squirm under a layer of slime that easily obscures.

In case you're not following, this is my pompous way of talking about the production. Basically, it's very black metal: murky, flat, reverb-heavy and dense -- though not necessarily lo-fi. On first listen you may find it monotonous. The dynamics and textures never vary; the whole thing is one prolonged nightmare. But when you focus in on the melodies it becomes fantastically powerful. As I've said, it does require some effort on the listener's part. Close your eyes and let the music direct your imagination. Suddenly the album crawls out of the mud and frightens you with life.

Okay, enough with the metaphors. Some background info: it is a concept album by the guy behind Nightbringer. (Many other reviewers note that if you don't like the guy's other stuff, you'll doubtless hate this too. As usual, they speak bollocks. I can't get into Nightbringer but this album is to me superbly different.) The band is, in its own words, 'an opening to the sound of his [Akhyls'] own haunted dreams, the occult world of hallucinations incarnated in music.' If that wasn't pretentious enough, the album concept is described as a 'fascinating and grandiose sonic monument consisting of five otherworldly compositions, five dark tunnels of fury and intensity in which to lose yourself, filled with dangerous and hypnotic melodies. This first album is a unique moment in timeless time, a delicious abyss of dark and ethereal enchantment that takes Black Metal into another magnificent.'

(Yummy: delicious abyss!)

Despite the usual trite overwritten black metal blurb, the album does actually deliver on all these feelings. Indeed the production style mentioned does a lot to portray this concept, but it is really the album's modestly-described 'otherworldly compositions' and 'dangerous and hypnotic melodies' that clarify this aphotic concept in your mind's eye. (No, I didn't get that out of a thesaurus, thank you.)

These are long pieces, one stretching to 16 minutes, albeit with 2 minutes of gloomy ambient noise bookending it. But they are fortunately far from boring. The melodies themselves are memorable, and all tend to abide by a similar partially-dissonant approach. They usually vary rather than simply repeat, with a kind of melodic metamorphoses being more common than sudden riff change. This is of course keeping in key with the continuous dream-scape concept. Sometimes, however, new melodies do burst out of ambience -- and these occasions are all the more frightening because of their rarity.

The vocals are great but not necessarily exceptional. They certainly do fit well and that's all this author cares about. The bass is inaudible (this is a black metal album after all). The guitars seem to come in two colours: one muddy all-purpose tone and one sharp, penetrative lead guitar tone that makes for a shriekingly good outro in the title track. And the drums are surprisingly powerful, with an addictively muscular bass drum. They are, to the album's benefit, quite prominent in the mix and are most definitely a highlight.

Right, basically this is an album of exceptional standard. If you, like me, get an intense masochistic thrill from the idea of someone pumping dense slime into your ears while you close your eyes and dream of horrors thought inconceivable, then please do give this album a spin. Or if you're a more sadistic black metal fan who dreams of murder and church burnings then I'm sure the glumness of the album will appeal to you too. Or else to the more sane music lovers out there, I would note the effortlessly clever compositions, the heavily stylised production, the morbidly evocative melodies -- all of which are made possible by some seriously skilled musicianship. This is an album everybody interested in black metal should hear.


user ratings (286)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Metaltronic
April 27th 2015


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Holy crap, I hadn't even heard of this but this is an amazing album. Second favorite black metal album of the year so far, behind Scar Sighted.

Benc
April 27th 2015


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God damn I love this album. The melodies created are fantastic and the drumming is subtle yet excellent. That cover is just ridiculous. Good review!

CrimsonLies
April 27th 2015


2575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome

YakNips
April 27th 2015


18944 Comments


album rules nice

Anthemic
April 28th 2015


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are too many side notes that take the reader out of the review, but I think OvDeath is being overly picky here, I say nice review. Pos.



Edit: I agree with a lot of his criticisms, but they're not put forth constructively. There are a lot of trolls on this site, so on that note, welcome to Sputnik.

Steven28
April 28th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Erm, Ovdeath, this isn't intended as a serious review. And insulting people is a good sport, as your comments to me demonstrate.

So I'll hit the ball back to you:

1) two dynamics of loud and ambient does not make for variety.

2) I will never cut the delicious abyss line. Black metal descriptions are just too funny.

3) 'Flat and reverb don't really go together. Reverb expands a sound, flatness implies it sounds thin.' -- Wow. What a pedant. And flat tends to mean on one level actually, without fluctuation.

4) 'You’re not even using [pretentious] right. You obviously don’t even know what the word means' -- no, I absolutely know what it means. For instance: you, sir, are a pretentious shit.

(But, yeah, the is a rough patchy mess in a lot of ways. Haven't written a music review in years.)

Steven28
April 28th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And thank you, Anthemic. Though I've been lurking around here a while.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2015


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Would have preferred the review to cover some songs more specifically-I mean, the 16-minute long track itself is one of the most explorative, ambitious black metal tracks I've heard in recent times. Nonetheless, this album is excellent. May bump it to a 4.5, time will tell.

Digging: Aosoth - V: The Inside Scriptures

Essence
April 28th 2015


5848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

10/10 discussion thread

Steven28
April 28th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Xenophanes wow, I didn't expect that. They must not have actually read it or something

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2015


21997 Comments


Don't put yourself down man. I didn't read the review, but obviously they saw something in it they liked enough to post it. Congrats.

Steven28
April 28th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@TheSpirit Thanks, but I'm not putting myself down. I just wrote the review on my iPhone, late at night, slightly drunk and without any intention of being serious... But hey, if one of my favourite labels sees something in it, I'm pretty damn happy.

Serenityinaz12
April 28th 2015


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn this is some good sh!t. Disgusting, filthy, gross, putrid, smelly, haunting, evil black metal. Love it.

Serenityinaz12
April 28th 2015


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Seems this is actually the 2nd release from Akhlys, although the 1st isn't here on Sputnik. I found it on bandcamp, called Supplication. Here's the link if anyone is interested - way more ambient than this release. http://nahas.bandcamp.com/album/supplication-remastered

Steven28
April 28th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@serenityinaz12 thanks, didn't notice there was another release. That album cover looks terrifying like mother theresa. And the music isn't doing anything for me either

LordePots
April 28th 2015


38251 Comments


ill deffs give this a rip

Digging: Alyss - Motherland

titanslayer
April 29th 2015


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's nothing wrong with the way he introduced the album ovdeath, actually it's a lot more interesting then the generic and boring intro almost every other review has. And most your other complaints are on his personal style which I thought worked rather well. Cookie cutter reviews like the ones you're asking him to write are boring and I don't finish them half the time, this kept me interested and made me interested in the album. So it's safe to say this review more then did it's job.

I actually liked this review more then most others on this site even if it is a little rough around the edges.

CaptainDooRight
April 29th 2015


2215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is pretty sweet.

Steven28
April 29th 2015


159 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@titanslayer thanks! glad the review worked for someone

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some of the personal bits could do with cutting, but the review isn't nearly as bad as Ov is suggesting. He makes some good points, but a number of them are just nitpicks on his part and he did come off as overly condescending doing it.



Good effort.



Oh and there's absolutely nothing wrong with not immediately identifying the album. It's safe to assume we know already.



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