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Akrival - "Vitriolic" (CD)

Akrival - "Vitriolic" CD cover image

"Vitriolic" track listing:

1. Vitriolic Circles
2. Striving For Antipathy
3. Lost Man's Domain
4. Straight Path To Disintegration
5. Thorn
6. Moor Of Mercilessness
7. Your Last Breath
8. Desperate Fight
9. War Commands

Reviewed by on September 3, 2011

"It’s a different sound of black metal than anything I’ve ever heard before."

Berlin black metal band Akrival has a very distinct and chaotic sound. The songs are fast and crazy, yet the instruments don’t blur together and seem to be very separate and clear from each other. It’s a different sound of black metal than anything I’ve ever heard before.

Opening with “Vitriolic Circles,” the drums by Borisshk immediately snap along; snap because they don’t have a large, boomy sound. The drums seem to pop; it’s jarring and focuses your attention. Production on this album offers a good isolation of each track, having each instrument separate from each other in tone, but works overall in the main mix. The snare drum stands out like the gun shot production of a early Deicide or Morbid Angel album from the golden era of death recordings. Being a bass lover, I enjoyed Nahmaah Ash ’s bass because it was so easily heard throughout the album, as is every instrument, of course. The intro to “Lost Man’s Domain” is a great example of his ability.

The guitars by Vincent and Caron were played very well, clear and constantly changing rhythms and tempo, keeping the listener at attention like the sudden turns and loops on a rollercoaster. Some songs have typical metal riffs, even black metal quick-strumming and tone, and others don’t seem even rock and roll derived. “Thorn” showcases the guttural shriek of the vocals mixed with the large sounding guitar shredding and tremolo madness. “Moor of Mercilessness” almost has a jazzy feel. Vocalist Scarog does well with growls, but his vocal style does not change with the rest of the hectic music. Scarog sings deeply, but does not have a lot of pitch changes throughout, although “Straight Path to Distinction” had good vocals.

Akrival likes to be surprising and hard to categorize. I enjoyed the way the band accomplished that and find “Vitriolic” to be diverse in style, even if each style lasts a few seconds, and unusual in an interesting way. I hear elements of Immortal and Emperor, with the mathematical signatures of Iron Maiden and Possession. The use of thrash and black metal is mixed tastefully, and fans of Endless Blizzard and Lightning Swords of Death will enjoy this band. Keeping true to the black metal feel, the music showcases a wide array of the band’s influences.

Highs: Very distinct instruments and ever-changing rhythms.

Lows: Vocals could be more varied like the other instruments.

Bottom line: A good listen for something different under the name black metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)