Special Features: Digipak with 8 page booklet.
- A Pound of Flesh
- Force Me Open
- Born of Fire
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Label: Hellmistress Records
What do you get when you mix post-rock sensibilities with playful psychedelic vocal melodies? You get Akula, the next in a long line of exciting Weekly Featured Artists from It Djents. At the start of the year, I was jonesing for some interesting new post-rock to dive into, and it wasn’t long before I came across this band’s self-titled debut. Akula dropped on the second day of 2018, and I have yet to hear a better post-rock output this year. While I didn’t have the capacity to give this record a full review, I felt like shining a light on this band would be a better fit. So here we go.
As with a lot of our WFA’s, Akula are a band that we see on the rise. I reached out to the band to get the full story on their inception, and just how things got started for them. Here’s what they had to say about their origin:
‘Akula started when Lo-Pan had some downtime. I was feeling an overabundance of creative energy and I thought jamming with some different people and different styles might be a good way to channel some of that. This was before Chris [Thompson] joined Lo-Pan. I knew who he was and had seen a few of his previous bands play. I had been listening to a lot of heavier psychedelic stuff in the vein of Yob, Neurosis, and even someMastodon. I knew Chris could do pretty much anything from seeing him play. I contacted him and asked if he would be interested in getting some people together for a purely fun project. He was all for it. I told him what I was thinking in terms of style and he said he actually already had some part ideas he had been messing around with that might be a fit.’
Differentiating your sound is a tough thing to do in the burgeoning progressive music scene. One way to get noticed is great songwriting. When I gave Akula’s debut its first spin, I was instantly captivated by their sound and the interesting compositions that they had put together. The first track on the album is “Pound of Flesh”. With the density of the atmosphere paired with the engaging vocal lines that evoke stoner rock with some post-hardcore sprinkles, it’s a genuine treat. Give it a listen!
Creating unique, interesting music takes more than simply throwing genres in a blender and seeing how it turns out. Akula wears their influences proudly but assembles them in ways that make sense and make for great songwriting. I asked the band about their heroes and, as you would imagine, it’s quite a spread:
‘I think stylistically we all come from very different places. And that confluence of styles results in what you hear with Akula. As a group, I think we are all aiming for something lovely, yet still heavy, even melancholy. We sort of meet in the middle at certain places while all coming from different directions. Points where we all seem to touch would be from projects like Metallica, Kowloon Walled City, Neurosis, ISIS, Old Man Gloom, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Yob, Slayer, Soundgarden, Tool.’
I went on to ask how the recording of their debut record was for them. While the recording process wasn’t new for any of the members, being in the studio as band for the first time is an interesting adventure:
‘Recording could not have been a better process for us. We recorded this record at Sonic Lounge here in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a really killer studio with some outstanding equipment and it’s all run by Joe Viers. Chris had worked with Joe multiple times in other projects like Sleepers Awake. I worked with Joe on the last Lo-Pan release (In Tensions), and Scott had worked with him in his band Bridesmaid. Joe was our first choice and for me our only choice really. He just gets music and he’s a fantastic collaborator. He becomes like another member of the band. He makes strong suggestions and will hold you accountable when he knows you can play a part better or if you’re out of tune. And even vocally, I have found Joe to be an invaluable resource for ideas on harmonies and execution. I can’t say enough good things about the guy.
We did the entire album and mixing over the course of two weekends at Sonic Lounge. It was a real blast to make this album. I think as a first effort it reflects the entire timeline of the band to this point. You can hear the maturation of the songs. Or at least I can. “Born of Fire” was our first completed song. “Force Me Open” was the second completed song. Even between those two songs, I think you can hear a quantum shift. It’s pretty rewarding to see that growth as a group.’
I genuinely think that this band has a bright future. With some great riffs, thick atmosphere, and a myriad of influences to keep each composition interesting, Akula are poised to do great things. There is a short tour in the works for this coming spring, and the band is looking to get their debut distributed physically in the near future as well. Recommending bands is often something that those of us that love music do daily, but this is a band that many, many more people need to get to know. - Jake (http://www.itdjents.com/featured-band-of-the-week/weekly-featured-artist-akula/)