Friday, July 15, 2016

Nechochwen-The Heart of Akamon

Before I get to the album review, I'd like to say that this blog is a chance to keep years of album reviews and interviewing experience going. Even though the last two years have been kind of rough, given the burn out that I've felt, combined with various things outside of my control contributing to the demise of Metal Psalter (thanks for eight wonderful years), I feel like this blog is a chance to get a fresh start and see what brought me to this point in the first place. Sentimental stuff out of the way, let's go to the review.

Nechochwen is a duo from West Virginia that consists of Nechochwen (Aaron Carey) and Pohonasin (Andrew Della Cagna) and they play black/folk metal whose themes are heavily influenced by Native American culture and history. Since the first release Algonkian Mythos in 2008, the band has gotten progressively more comfortable with the metal elements, as the debut was predominantly acoustic guitar. With a new album out in Heart of Akamon, the results of a band exploring their horizons are realized.

The main theme of Heart of Akamon centers around a battle, one that is accurately depicted on the album cover, which is a painting of General Braddock's Defeat. The harsh opening track "The Serpent Tradition" leads into a short acoustic instrumental "The Impending Winter," which showcases a parallel between the harsh realities of war and the quiet, yet somber aftermath of the war. "October 6, 1813" and "Traversing the Shades of Death" are a welcome link to the band's past, as they employ the atmospheric elements that they've been known for while incorporating metal elements when needed. While picking one stand out song on this album is a difficult task, as the superior musicianship and subject matter make it an entire album worth listening to, a song like "Traversing the Shades of Death" encompasses everything that Nechochwen is about, from hauntingly beautiful atmospheric passages to metal influences. The vocals also do their part to make the Heart of Akamon an album worthy of your attention, as they pull off both clean and harsh vocals effectively.

Overall, Nechochwen does well with Heart of Akamon, particularly since it's allowed to stand out on its own while showing a level of improvement over previous albums. Growth is something that should be encouraged in music, and Nechochwen has shown this to be true over the course of their discography. If' you're looking for something refreshing, look no further than Heart of Akamon.

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