Let’s peel back the curtain on the creative process a little with today’s review, shall we? Firstly, I don’t have the manpower or the time to review EVERYTHING that comes through the ole digital inbox so unless it’s something I’ve requested or an artist I’m already aware of, the selection process goes like this: I sit down at the end of the day and just pore through whatever came in. Sometimes there are diamonds in the rough, most times there are not. What does pique my interest gets downloaded and sorted by when it’s getting released so I have ample time to get it posted before it’s out.
AKULA is the sort of diamond in the rough I’m talking about but imagine my surprise when I came across the promo and ALSO hear a familiar voice crooning out of my speakers?!? Then upon delving more found that said voice was that of Jeff Martin of Lo-Pan. What?!?
But I digress. A lot.
While AKULA is wholly a different animal than Lo-Pan, the sounds within their debut EP should be more than enough to tide you over until that band returns with a new full-length (Some time in 2019). Comparisons aside, what a great batch of songs this is! Huge, epic, soundscape building types of jams that are easily reminiscent of the stuff Kyuss used to do so well. Add Martin’s familiar yowl on top and you have the makings of a unique debut.
“A Pound Of Flesh” is nine and a half minutes of unbridled, unfiltered desert rawk. Like those generator parties of yore hosted by that aforementioned legendary band, the track combines Chris Thompson (Also of Lo-Pan) and Sergei Parfenov’s duel swirling guitars, Scott Hyatt’s subtle bass rumble and Ronnie Miller’s killer skin bashing with Martin’s sweeping vox into this incredible aural odyssey.
“Force Me Open” begins with a tremor before settling into this groove with Martin’s vocal quivers ringing out before the song shifts into a riff rawker fueled by Parfenov and Thompson’s furious fretwork. “Born Of Fire” is almost just that with Martin crying alongside some solemn fuzzy guitar work before Miller’s crashing drums turn this into a Sabbathian-sized lumbering beast. Closing with the dissonant sounds of “Predators” brings to mind Pelican at times with the guitar tones until Martin steps in to remind listeners what sets them apart from that instrumental juggernaut with a soulful delivery. Speaking of juggernauts: this song! All twelve plus minutes of this mighty monster is worth your time, climbing a heavy mountain culminating in a glorious peak of transcendent desert rawk bliss.
Akula is out digitally right this moment but on September 28th you can get your physical on thanks to Hellmistress Records. You can get that digital right now by clicking here which also has links to where you can pre-order the physical editions. For the latest on the band, head here.