Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Akem Manah - Demons of the Sabbat (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/08/2014
Label: Freak Metal Records

‘Demons of the Sabbat CD/DD track listing:

1). Dark Ritual 01:50
2). Worship in Fire 07:34
3). Reign of Terror 04:25
4). Possession of Nun 08:47
5). Hollow Graves 08:44
6). Unholy Horror 04:%9
7). The Twisted Rites of Satan’s Bride 08:01
8). Nightfall 02:16
9). Demons Rise 09:13


Akem Manah is a doom metal band from Oregon that formed in October 2009 by Dead Nedry, Mike Bonnetti, Kyle Simms & Brian Murray. Akem performed a few shows but choose to be more of a studio band. The original line-up reorced the demos "Akem Manah" November 2009 & "The Devil" in January 2010.

Following the recording of "The Devil" demo, Kyle left the band for a job in California. In February lead guitarist Mike left for personal reasons. Robert Ingraham replaced Kyle as bassist in January. The band would soon after the line=up change go in to New Sound studio to record the debut album / followup ep.

On July 9, 2010 the debut album "The Devil Is In All Of You" was released via Cdbaby, Itunes & Amazon.com. Shortly before the release of the debut album, Nedry moved back to his home town Bandon, Oregon. On March 29, 2011 the ep "Horror In The Eyes" was released. It consisted of unused songs recorded during the debut album sessions. It was planned to be the last Akem Manah release.

In November 2011, the band decided to take a shot at making another album new album. In January they entered Emerald City Productions to record the 2nd album called "Night Of The Black Moon". It was released on March 23, 2012.

In April 2012, it was announced that bassist Robert Ingraham and drummer Brian Murray had left the band in order to focus on college and careers. Nedry has opted to keep Akem Manah going. It was also announced in May 2012 that a new album was in the works.

The new album will features former White Zombie drummer Ivan de Prume & former Nile bassist Chris Lollis, along with some guest musicians. The new 3rd full length album "Demons Of The Sabbat" is set for a Summer 2014 release & a 4th full length album is in writing stages for a spring 2015 release

The Band:

Dead Nedry | vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass on tracks 1 & 6
Chriss Lollis (Nile / Lecherous Nocturne) | bass
Ivan de Prume (White Zombie) | drums

Scott Von Heldt (Kurai / Brian Head Welch) | lead guitar on tracks 3 & 9
Adam Richardson (Ramesses / 11Paraoias) | vocals on track 9 


I am quite fucking pleased I overlooked the pseudo-clipart artwork and the rather dull lead ‘Worship in Fire’ and stayed the course, as this album gets better and better as it progresses.  From something that nearly forced me to make an Obituary-lite crack to a serious, introspective, sludged-out death/doom record. It grows consistently more and more complex and thick, as if maturing over the course of the recording. After an ambient intro that actually foreshadows the denser tracks found later on the album, I was prepared to turn it off and move on as the almost/not-quite riffing of ‘Worship in Fire’ beat its theme into the ground, and failed to impress with the lead, before mercifully slipping into something more comfortable with ‘Reign in Terror’, the third track from the Oregon-based band's third full-length.

Leading off with an almighty stoned, hair in your face, clouds of smoke riff that blasts you into orbit, the tremulous, fx-soaked guitar of ‘Reign..’ keeps things cosmic as the guttural vocals hold processed inhuman court over the groove. This song immediately leaves the grave and begins to explore the doom side of their equation, crafting a very atmospheric and spacey sound that is still firmly rooted in death and evil and the double-kick. This sound grows to encompass the remaining songs, often combining with breakdown-esque crunch and gruff rasping rhythms to fantastic effect. No need to speed, relentlessly dedicated to the mid-paced stomp, it gets harder and harder not to close your eyes and bang your head through the dulcet sledgehammer tones of ‘Hollow Graves’ and the absolutely complete final titular track. The latter opening with a growling staccato drone, juxtaposed over a frenetic drum solo by session musician and former member of White Zombie Ivan de Prume, before a classic sludge tune bursts forth from your speakers and culminates in the now-mandatory washes of ambient echo and reverb. From track 4 onward, it actually can be difficult to tell when one song ends and another begins. It has an excellent flow and continuity, and it feels like a unit, rather than a collection of songs.

The lineup on this surprisingly rad 9 track disc is rounded out by bassist Chris Lollis (also of Lecherous Nocturne and one-time contributor to the mighty Nile), and the man at the helm, front man and lyricist Dead Nedry. Nedry also produced and did the artwork, though I wonder: do I lose metal cred if I think he went a little heavy on the skulls?

Words by: James Harris

You can pick up a copy on CD/DD here

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