Album: Grands Tyrans
Label: Hospital Productions
Akitsa is a black metal band hailing from my homeland, Canada! This is their fifth full length, but because they are a small black metal band, this is their eighteenth actual release, because splits and EPs. So Akitsa has an impressive back catalogue to dig into, and that is definitely something I have to do, because Grands Tyrans has impressed me.
Grands tyrans is a collection of nine songs, clocking in at a brief 40 minutes, so we have a bunch of short, furious songs. But the thing that amazes me about this album is that every single song is completely different. And I really mean it. The band only has two members, O. T. and Néant, who share all instruments and vocals, allowing them to switch places and create entirely different sounds. To give you a taste, let’s go through the first few songs and see what they have to offer.
For best vocals, it has to be the first song. I absolutely love vocals done the way they are done on Dévoilé. They are the same vocals that make rare appearances on Peste Noire’s early material, and Mortifera too. That blood-curdling shriek that goes so high and tormented that the voice cracks, reaching ear-splitting heights. Those are the kind of vocals that are featured on Dévoilé, paired with a mid-tempo tremolo assault. But before you can even get your footing with this album, Akitsa switches to pure crust punk, featuring absolutely wretched French punk vocals. I’m very unfamiliar with the punk sound, but the song is catchy and has a good riff behind it. Following up this punk foray, the next song features very traditional black metal vocals and instruments, although I cannot pick out any specific band they are trying to imitate, if they are imitating at all. Finally, the next song is an ambient noise-scape with French mumbling in the background, eventually building to a shouted speech covered in walls of static.
I don’t want to go any further into the song styles, because it really should be a discovery that you can appreciate for yourself. It really is a diverse album, twisting and turning every chance they can. This style can be difficult to get at first, and really no other bands that I can name off the top of my head employ something quite so extreme, but in my mind Akitsa has triumphed with Grands tyrans. Every song is really enjoyable, even if you aren’t a fan of the current style they are presenting. All of it is as low-fi as possible and the songs sound almost carelessly tossed together. But of course they couldn’t be carelessly done, because it really requires a lot of focus to write a series of songs so different from each other, but still maintain an overarching sound. You can listen to any song and think “This is Akitsa”, because they’ve managed to keep the same guitar tone and the same level of production throughout this catalogue of extreme styles of music.
Each song is brief enough to not overstay its welcome, so even if one sound doesn’t do it for you, maybe the next song will have a sound that does. And since Grands tyrans is only 40 minutes, it never has a chance to lose its magic. Akitsa never consciously repeats a sound, even though I really wish they’d write another song like Dévoilé, keeping the album completely fresh for every song and every listen. As I said above, Akitsa has really impressed me. It’s a unique concept to me, and it’s executed extremely well. Grands tyrans is like getting in a car and driving through different time periods and locations in black metal history, sampling different manifestations of the genre. I highly recommend this album if you want to try something new.
Check ’em out here: https://akitsa.bandcamp.com/album/grands-tyrans