The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Akûma, For the Beloved Bones

By no means do I want to imply that a straightedge post-metal band from Central Mexico is the thing you’re least likely to encounter in a given day, but Akûma are the first I’ve come across. The Morelia four-piece made their debut on Magnetic Eye Records last year with their Fearless John EP, and they follow it up with their sophomore full-length, For the Beloved Bones, tapping into atmospheric influences from an array of sources, pulling elements from Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Mastodon, some black metal, some post-hardcore destructiveness, and set it to inhumane tonality weighted enough to turn those beloved bones into beloved powder. That they don’t drink or do drugs, whoopie, I don’t really care. They’re heavy as fuck and that’s the part that matters.

Shades of High on Fire-style thrashing show up on “Peach” and the bonus track “MM/Mx,” but on the whole, Akûma seem to be more concerned with apocalyptic aural oppression and atmospheric densities. In the realm of post-metal, there are bands who sound like Isis and there are bands who don’t. Akûma don’t, and as a comparison point, the lonely echoing guitar on “Avalon” reminds me more of the latest Beast in the Field than anything else, setting an open-sky ambience that comes crashing down with the subsequent “Exiled Sons of Eve,” a gang-shouted paean to aggressive songcraft that finds surprising resolution in post-rock melodic soloing. Doomed more in mood than method, For the Beloved Bones puts just enough of an individualized twist on familiar elements to emerge sounding fresh, and whether it’s the acoustic centerpiece “Amongst the Vessels” or the tense build of “Tombs” into album-proper closer “Koyaanisqatsi,” Akûma‘s double-guitar blasts do well in leaving a metallic taste that comes with little sense of posturing.

Songs vary in approach and six out of the 11 on the 36-minute offering are instrumental, so as much as Akûma seem geared toward endtime tales, their priority remains the music itself. Their first album was 2010’s Invocations on the Storm, which was instrumental to an even higher ratio, so one is led to think that maybe they’re adapting themselves over time to a vocalized approach. If that’s what they’re working toward on For the Beloved Bones, the album isn’t any weaker for being a step in an ongoing progression, and if anything, it’s a sign of further heaviness to come. Cuts like the raging “Olas de Sangre” and maddening intro “According to the Currents” probably aren’t going to change your opinion one way or another on post-metal, but as Akûma continue to hammer out their sound, it’s clear they’re working from a strong base of varied influences.

You can hear the entirety of For the Beloved Bones now as part of the 24/7 stream on The Obelisk Radio and check it out on the player below, snagged from the Magnetic Eye Records Bandcamp:

Akûma, For the Beloved Bones (2013)

Akûma on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

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