Akhlys
Melinoë


4.5
superb

Review

by Fernando Alves CONTRIBUTOR (79 Reviews)
November 19th, 2020 | 202 replies


Release Date: 12/14/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Magnificent darkness

Undoubtedly one of the most relevant contemporary black metal artists, Naas Alcameth has been able to impregnate in each of his many projects a distinctive artistic fingerprint that has become a hallmark in the realm of modern darkness. Nightbringer, Akhlys, Bestia Arcana, Excommunion, and more recently Aoratos, all orbit (in one way or another) the same creative core which expresses itself through dark atmospheres that roam between dimensions of fear, terror, and darkness. Although there are many aesthetic similarities between his musical projects, Akhlys is a creature with a voice of his own, focused on the deep dimension of dreams within an esoteric context. All lyrics were inspired by certain dreams and parasomnia experiences Naas Alcameth has undergone over the years. The dark ambient aesthetic is also a distinctive element, even if they all share a strong atmospheric dimension. In fact, the debut album Supplication is, in essence, a dark ambient release with black metal nuances, while the modern classic The Dreaming I reverses the approach by being a black metal album with dark ambient layers. The link between them, though tenuous, is in the frightening atmosphere which they both display, an ambiance that drifts between the terrifying dimensions of sleep.

Daughter of Persephone (wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld in Greek mythology), Melinoë is a frightening underworld goddess invoked in one Orphic Hymn*, bearer of nightmares and madness. An ancient Greek goddess of propitiation who was believed to wander the earth by night, striking fear into the hearts of men. Melinoë thus symbolizes the outlet for Naas' personal experiences while falling asleep, dreaming, or waking up. He refers to these experiences as seemingly inexplicable phenomena around nightmares and sleep paralysis that he constantly suffered during the beginning of his writing process. One of the conversations Naas had during one of these sleep paralysis episodes can be heard in the third track, 'Succubare', around 4:30.

*Hymn to Melinoë (translation by Apostolos Athanassakis and Benjamin M. Wolkow):

I call upon Melinoe, saffron-cloaked nymph of the earth,
whom revered Persephone bore by the mouth of the Kokytos river
upon the sacred bed of Kronian Zeus.
In the guise of Plouton Zeus and tricked Persephone and through wiley plots bedded her;
a two-bodied specter sprang forth from Persephone's fury.
This specter drives mortals to madness with her airy apparitions
as she appears in weird shapes and strange forms,
now plain to the eye, now shadowy, now shining in the darkness
all this in unnerving attacks in the gloom of night.
O goddess, O queen of those below, I beseech you
to banish the soul's frenzy to the ends of the earth,
show to the initiates a kindly and holy face.


As soon as we dive into Akhyls' new nightmare we immediately run into Naas' distinctive high-pitched tremolo picking, which suggests Melinoë will remain stylistically coherent with The Dreaming I. This tremolo picking approach is undeniably Naas' trademark signature, transversal to all releases. The opener 'Somniloquy' and 'Ephialtes' are both examples where this technique manifests itself in all its splendor, the latter with an aesthetic very similar to Aoratos. As I mentioned before, the stylistic similarity between Naas' projects has been a constant in his trajectory, and Melinoë is certainly no different. We encounter familiar resonances in every corner as if we were witnessing a cinematic sequel where we already know the cast and script. However, despite this familiarity, we remain enthusiastic about the storyline, letting ourselves be carried away by the terrifying plot.

As expected, dark ambient is omnipresent and a common denominator, 'Succubare' being its maximum exponent. This ambient track, besides having a strong symbolism as it mirrors Naas' disturbing episode, also serves as a bridge between the two halves of the album thus generating an important pause in the narrative. While the former features one of the most powerful choruses Naas has ever produced, the latter provides an epic conclusion to Melinoë, swinging between dark ambiances and vicious blast beat incursions. The abrupt passage between the daunting introduction and the following blast beat nightmare is most definitely among the album's highlights.

The terrifying atmosphere surrounding the spiritual, mystical, and emotional narrative is overwhelming. The embodiment of Naas Alcameth's aesthetic expression is fully accomplished, not only musically but also by Dave Otero's sound engineering that manages to perfectly embody the musical concept. In this sense, the relationship between music and its spiritual dimension reaches a complete balance, thus fulfilling Melinoë's supreme goal.

In addition to being one of the best chapters Naas Alcameth has ever written, Melinoë will surely be among the best metal releases of 2020. Everything about it is dark and terrifying, just like a shadowy presence that dwells secretly in our subconscious, always lurking, feeding on our most primal fears. It's the shadow that lies in a corner of our bedroom and under our bed. It's that malevolent presence that our rational self chooses to ignore because, in the end, it's all superstition, isn't it?



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user ratings (97)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Massive jam. One of the best albums of 2020.

Album stream:

http://akhlys.bandcamp.com/album/melino

http://youtu.be/t0aAMB26ZKU

Digging: Sodom - Genesis XIX

DDDeftoneDDD
November 19th 2020


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The rev We were all waiting for m/



requires another jam

Digging: Deafheaven - 10 Years Gone

DDDeftoneDDD
November 19th 2020


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

RISE UP!









BOW DOWN!

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Memorable moment

Pikazilla
November 19th 2020


13369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep, this slays VERY hard.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's among the best music Naas has ever recorded and I love all his work, including Excommunion.

Deathconscious
November 19th 2020


25519 Comments


Cant wait to be suffocated by some sort of spectral fog.

Digging: Causa Sui - Szabodelico

DDDeftoneDDD
November 19th 2020


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

https://akhlys.bandcamp.com/album/melino

trilo
November 19th 2020


3552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is *chef's kiss*



great review

Digging: Torrential Downpour - TwentyTwentyTwenty

DDDeftoneDDD
November 19th 2020


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

it looks like I'm swimming on evilness

brainmelter
November 19th 2020


7222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that album art!

And great review as usual

Digging: Ichiko Aoba - ?????

Evreaia
November 19th 2020


5160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God this dude's album covers are soooooooooooo good

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys.



Agreed Evreaia, courtesy of Denis Forkas Kostromitin. He had total freedom, Naas only provided him with the lyrics.

JayEnder
November 19th 2020


8765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album cover alone makes me wanna czech this.



A fantastic review as usual, Notrap. m/

Digging: Black Wing - No Moon

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for your kind words JayEnder

MillionDead
November 19th 2020


3319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice write up! This project is insane. So dark, so hellish.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Naas wanders in frightening dimensions, he must be a tormented guy.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2020


15313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I would like to add more space between lines in "Hymn to Melinoë", do any of you guys know the html code that works in sput reviews?

ChoccyPhilly
November 19th 2020


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys have such good fucking artwork

Digging: Ellende - Ellende

ChoccyPhilly
November 19th 2020


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also this review is terrific. One of the best I've read on sput in recent memory



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